For nearly 200 years the visions and aspirations of the people of Australia’s west have been characterised by an unquenchable thirst. Ruth Morgan uncovers the fear of running out of water — a fear that has long gripped the region’s inhabitants and loomed large on the state’s political agenda. It has shaped how urban and rural Western Australians learned to live with the effects of a variable climate on their water supply, lifestyle, and livelihood.
This is a story of hardship and persistence; of inclusion, exclusion and defiant profligacy in the face of growing scarcity, through a period of great development and social change. An engrossing environmental history that offers a new understanding of the past Running Out? questions this way of life as we approach an uncertain future in a drying climate.
* Running Out? Water in Western Australia was the winner of the 2016 State Library of Western Australia Prize for Western Australian History, Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards, and was runner-up for the 2016 W.K. Hancock Prize of the Australian Historical Association.
I have also published my research on water, climate, environmental history and the history of science in a range of Australian and international journals, including Australian Historical Studies, History Australia, Radical History Review, and Osiris.
Further information about my research activities can be found on my website.