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