America’s largest aquifer, the Ogallala Aquifer, is depleting. It’s a big problem, but it hasn’t gotten very much national attention.
At least, until Lucas Bessire wrote Running Out, which has been named a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction. In it, he sifts through history, memory, myth, and policy to explore why the High Plains are running out of water.
Today, Monday host Patty Peltekos talks with Lucas Bessire about water rights in Kansas, the myth of the family farmer, what it will take to save the aquifer, and more.
Lucas Bessire is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, a filmmaker, and writer. He is co-editor of Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century (NYU Press, 2012) and the director of the documentary films Asking Ayahai: An Ayoreo Story (2004), From Honey to Ashes (2006), and Farewell to Savage (2017). His latest book is Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains (University of Princeton Press, 2021).