Note: This article is a sidebar to one of this issue's feature stories, "The myth trafficker," in a special issue about community media in the West.

If you’re a paper-and-staples kind of person, several magazines and newsletters provide good independent commentary on water, including the Water Education Foundation’s Western Water magazine, the University of Arizona’s Arizona Water Resource magazine, The Water Report, and The Water Strategist. Still, there remains a crying need for accessible, independent analysis and commentary online.

There is hope, however, from two people who are currently lurking on the fringes of cyberspace. The first is Tim Stroshane of Berkeley, Calif. For several years, he published a fiery newsletter called SPILLWAY, which offered trenchant insight on the relationship between water and growth, and on the kinds of backroom water deals that have made California famous. Stroshane put SPILLWAY on hiatus two years ago, but free back issues are available online, and he recently declared on his Web site: "Rest assured: SPILLWAY will return" — next year, he hopes.

The second is Steve Malloch, who has distinguished himself as the enfant terrible of water in the eyes of the West’s highly subsidized and politically entrenched traditional water interests. From 2001 until early 2004, Malloch directed the Western Water Alliance, which advocated for sustainable and equitable water use. At the same time, he produced a biweekly newsletter called The Western Waterfront, which helped decipher lawsuits, water-right settlements, and jockeying for congressional appropriations. When the Western Water Alliance was forced to close its doors because of funding problems, the Family Farm Alliance, one of the principal lobbies for Western irrigators, crowed that "a ray of hope has broken through" — unintentionally giving Malloch the best testimonial he could ever hope to receive.

Malloch may yet toss his hat back in the ring. When asked if there are any water blogs he regularly turns to, he replied: "I don’t even know of any water bloggers. It’s something I probably ought to think about starting up."

Matt Jenkins is HCN’s West Coast Correspondent.

Back issues of SPILLWAY are available at, or contact Tim Stroshane at P.O. Box 8362, Berkley, CA 94707-8362.

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