Southern Water, Southern Power

How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region

By Christopher J. Manganiello

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 5 halftones, 4 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3602-3
    Published: August 2017
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2006-0
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4366-1
    Published: April 2015

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Awards & distinctions

Rachel Carson Prize, American Society for Environmental History

2015 GHRAC Award for Excellence, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council

Why has the American South--a place with abundant rainfall--become embroiled in intrastate wars over water? Why did unpredictable flooding come to characterize southern waterways, and how did a region that seemed so rich in this all-important resource become derailed by drought and the regional squabbling that has tormented the arid American West? To answer these questions, policy expert and historian Christopher Manganiello moves beyond the well-known accounts of flooding in the Mississippi Valley and irrigation in the West to reveal the contested history of southern water. From the New South to the Sun Belt eras, private corporations, public utilities, and political actors made a region-defining trade-off: The South would have cheap energy, but it would be accompanied by persistent water insecurity. Manganiello's compelling environmental history recounts stories of the people and institutions that shaped this exchange and reveals how the use of water and power in the South has been challenged by competition, customers, constituents, and above all, nature itself.

About the Author

Christopher J. Manganiello is an environmental historian and the water policy director at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
For more information about Christopher J. Manganiello, visit the Author Page.


“With this well-researched study, environmental historian Manganiello makes a valuable contribution to both environmental history and the history of southern industrialization.”--CHOICE

“An excellent book that makes an important contribution to southern environmental history and the history of water in the U.S.”--American Historical Review

"Explores the connections between water management and energy production in the American South."--Journal of American History

"A worthwhile read and a valuable contribution to the literature of water and the America[n] South."--Journal of Historical Geography

“A highly satisfying volume that is an important contribution to southern water politics and environmental history.”--Agricultural History

“Masterfully researched. . . . A fantastic addition to not only the topic of water in the south, but also environmental history in general.”--On the Brink

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