Book cover of Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains by Lucas Bessireby Lucas Bessire

An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America’s heartland

The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.

Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster.

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art for the New Book NetworkNew Book Network
Lucas Bessire, “Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains” (Princeton UP, 2021)
4/1/21        49 min

Podcast art for The Chris Voss ShowThe Chris Voss Show
Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains by Lucas Bessire
6/21/21        27 min

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