Editor's Pick

Dead pool: How climate change and dwindling resources are fuelling America’s water wars

With the country’s western states experiencing the most severe drought in 1,200 years and no agreement on how to reduce their collective drain on the Colorado river, crops wither and parched residents suffer as political and legal battles wage

Fish carcasses on the dried mud flats at one of the shuttered marinas at Lake Mead in Las Vegas, Nevada: America’s western states are in the midst of the worst drought in 1,200 years. Picture: Getty

“Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” The old adage, parroted in countless Western movies, has been true for as long as there have been ranchers, farmers, wildcatters and pioneers in America’s West.

In Wild West movie lore, grizzled ranchers spat the line out as a declaration of war with their neighbours or errant Native Americans. Throughout history, conflicts have ultimately been about resources – and today’s water wars are no different, ...