Author Archives: Kimberly Sanchez

Kimberly Sanchez is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her research investigates the materiality and politics of food production, livestock raising and environmental governance in Mongolia and Wyoming, USA.
Image of a woman digging into a tub, the top of which is covered with ice. The woman uses a stick to dig. Her hair is covered and she wears a grey jacket and brown pants. She is standing on land covered in brown grass, and there are cattle in the background.

Water Scarcity, Hydropolitics, and the Importance of Materiality at the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains

How is growing water scarcity experienced by livestock producers? And to what extent does the materiality of water and the infrastructures on which users rely influence social relations and conflict management? Inspired by eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with livestock producers in Wyoming during which water both metaphorically and physically saturated my notebooks and conversations, I suggest that the form of water, either as a river or an aquifer in this case, helps to foster different experiences of waterways and also of social relations between water users. In comparing two different waterways, the Ogallala aquifer and the North Platte River, and the infrastructures on which water users depend, I argue that surface water and irrigation canals visibly highlight interdependent relations whereas groundwater pumping conceals connections. (read more...)