Southern Water, Southern Power

Why hasmanganiello_southern 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.

Please visit The University of North Carolina Press or Amazon for more information and to purchase a copy of Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region.

Awards & Recognition

  • Nominated for the 2016 Reed Environmental Writing Award, awarded by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
  • Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of an Archives, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council, 2015.


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

“A thought-provoking history of energy and water politics.”
Southern Spaces

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

“A strength of Manganiello’s analysis lies in his ability to illustrate how the region’s political and economic climate shaped the fate of the Piedmont river system. . . . Brings the growing field of southern environmental history more directly into conversation with southern history in general.”
North Carolina Historical Review

“Christopher J. Manganiello’s first-rate scholarship focuses much-needed attention on the crucial role of water in the environmental history and development of the South.Southern Water, Southern Power fills a critical void in our understanding of the relationship between southerners and their water resources.”
-Timothy Silver, Appalachian State University

Southern Water, Southern Power greatly enriches the historiography of southern industrial development. The story Manganiello has chosen to tell is important, and he’s produced a fine piece of historical scholarship on this vastly understudied topic.”
-Kari Frederickson, University of Alabama

“A highly satisfying volume that is an important contribution to southern water politics and environmental history.”
-Craig E. Colten (Louisiana State University) in Agricultural History

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