How to Win Battles Over Water in the Parched American West

  • 08.06.2022
  • Bloomberg

For at least 60 years there were no salmon in the Umatilla River. The water that the fish needed was being drawn off by the US government and used to irrigate 45,000 acres of former desert. But the Walla Walla, Cayuse, and Umatilla tribes, who lived beside the river, had not forgotten the fish that had sustained them for centuries. They wanted them back. A 1988 act of Congress returned some water to the river. Then, in 2004, the three tribes (legally organized as the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation) hired Joe Ely to help them get the rest.