Uphill against Water


Uphill against Water

The Great Dakota Water War

Peter Carrels

Our Sustainable Future Series

247 pages
Illus., maps


February 1999


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In Uphill against Water, Peter Carrels examines the history of Missouri River water development projects in general and describes the struggle over one of the largest of those projects, South Dakota’s Oahe irrigation project, in detail. Opposition to the Oahe project was intense and well organized. After four years of bitter competition, an energetic and resourceful grassroots group, United Family Farmers, wrested control of the Oahe conservancy district board, a government agency that had been an ardent supporter of the irrigation project. That political triumph led to the only victory in the West by a grassroots group over the Bureau of Reclamation and the irrigation and business establishment.

Author Bio

Peter Carrels is a writer in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His writing about Missouri River issues and history has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and books.


"A fascinating retelling of one of the most turbulent debates ever to face the state of South Dakota."—Senator Tom Daschle

"Fascinating. Carrels, who is a native and resident of Aberdeen, S.D., writes with spare restraint that reflects the landscape he grew up in. Nevertheless, the story he tells, and tells very well, is shocking."—Ed Marston, publisher, High Country News

"Superb chronicle . . . meticulously researched, well written, and somewhat surprisingly for a book of this type, very entertaining. His account of United Family Farmers’ ultimate success in halting the [Oahe] project is a first-class piece of reporting that should be on the recommended reading list of every grass roots organizer."—Roger Holtzmann, South Dakota Magazine