Some more water management truisms (Part II)

by Jay Lund

Fate of old professors

Decaying matter from which truisms emerge

Here is part two of a partial collection of truisms on water management.  These ideas seem obviously true, but still offer insights and perspective.  Original sources are mostly unknown (but apocryphal citations are common).  Any that I think are original to me, are probably not.

  1. Progress and effectiveness occur somewhere between complacency and panic. Complacency never befriends progress.  Panic can be motivating, but often betrays improvement.
  2. Everyone wants a better water system, and everyone agrees someone else should pay for it.
  3. Integration is easy to say, but is hard to do. So “integration” is said often.
  4. Involvement is not integration, but can be a start.
  5. You touch everything when you touch water. And in the American West, when you touch water, someone will become defensive.
  6. Some import drinking water from Fiji, Italy, or France, but not to irrigate crops.  Water is heavy and expensive to move, so it is usually cheaper to move food than water.
  7. People often pollute water by adding artificial coloring (blue, green, grey, black, etc.). Water is more clearly understood without verbal turbidity.
  8. ‘The meek shall inherit the Earth but not its water rights.’ – @WaterWired (apologies to J. Paul Getty)
  9. “No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.” – E. L. Kersten
  10. Water obeys physical laws immediately, far faster than human courts.

Further reading

Lund, J. “Some Water Management truisms, Part I,”,

Jay Lund is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis.  I am frightened by how many more sayings remain on my list.  (Making such lists seems a symptom of being an old professor, which is another list to publish elsewhere someday.)

About jaylund

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Director, Center for Watershed Sciences University of California - Davis
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