In their new book Science Be Dammed, Eric Kuhn and John Fleck explain how even when clear evidence was available that the Colorado River could not sustain ambitious dreaming and planning, river planners and political operatives irresponsibly made the least sustainable and most dangerous long-term decisions. Arguing that the science of the early twentieth century can shed new light on the mistakes at the heart of the over-allocation of the Colorado River, Kuhn and Fleck delve into rarely reported early studies, showing that scientists warned as early as the 1920s that there was not enough water for the farms and cities boosters wanted to build. Contrary to a common myth that the authors of the Colorado River Compact did the best they could with limited information, they show the boosters selectively chose the information needed to support their dreams, ignoring inconvenient science that suggested a more cautious approach.
- An understanding of the early history of the hydrologic studies of the Colorado River.
- An understanding of the way in which science was used – well or poorly – in the development of the institutions with which we manage the Colorado River.
- Ideas for how we can avoid the problems that follow from ignoring inconvenient science.