Publication Year



Politics, water, policy, Redlands, urban planning, resources


Environmental Sciences | Geography | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Urban Studies and Planning


The history of the arid regions of the southwestern United States has been written in its water supplies. Throughout most of this area there is insufficient naturally-occurring water to support the present population level. The man-made water availability has allowed this increased population to prosper, radically changed the land values of the region and the pattern of settlement. Whether or not most of them realize it, the present large population is here because someone, or some group, took it upon themselves to supply sufficient water to an area to allow it to expand beyond the limits set by its natural supply. This is a highly political action, as the water must come from somewhere with sufficient or surplus supplies. Even defining sufficient or surplus has been a difficult task, so the history of the water supply of an area is unavoidably also a history of early governmental and private decisions regarding local water development and the exploitation of more distant water resources. "Because water has been the key to Western economy," notes historian Joseph Sax, "control of water resources has been in many ways the keystone of Western politics." Noting water's local importance, a long-time resident and historian of the region said, "No one can understand this country [Redlands and environs] without knowing at least the main outline of the water situation."

This paper is a case study of the development of water policy in Redlands, and will show that, until the recent past, water policy in Redlands was developed via an incremental process.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science


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