October 27, 1986
Part 3 of the award-winning four-issue series Western Water Made Simple.
America can't keep its hands off its rivers. In the Columbia and Colorado basins, the damming and diverting has produced new economic bases, enormous amounts of irrigated desert lands and green cities in what was desert. But the transformation of the long, wide, muddy Missouri has had little effect on the region.
Today, the Missouri River has been transformed, but residents of the northern plains still struggle with the question of how to use its water.
Ditch riders on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation work with an aged, deteriorated system, very rough measuring means, and farmers who are quick to assume that they are being shorted.