1. The West's Gordian Knot -- 2. Water in a Changing West -- 3. Voices -- 4. The West Today -- 5. River Basin Stories -- 6. Losing Sight of the Headwaters -- 7. The Journey to Rediscovery -- 8. Change and Rediscovery in Western Water -- Epilogue: History Need Not Repeat Itself -- Appendix: The Language of Water. To most Americans - and even to most Westerners - water policy seems to be a complicated, hypertechnical, and incomprehensible subject: a tangle of engineering jargon and legalese surrounding a complex, delicate, and interrelated structure. Decisions concerning the public's waters involve precious little public participation, and under such circumstances, reform seems risky at best. Searching Out the Headwaters seeks to address the situation by providing a framework for understanding western water use and the outmoded rules that govern it. Only by understanding the waters of the West and the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them can concerned citizens comprehend the seriousness of the current situation and help take steps toward reform. The authors begin by tracing the history and evolution of the uses of western water. They describe the demographic and economic changes now occurring in the region and identify the many communities of interest involved in all water-use issues. After examining the central precepts of current water policy, along with its original rationale and subsequent evolution, the authors consider the reform movement that has recently begun to emerge. They conclude by laying the foundations for a water policy that can meet the needs of the new West and by discussing the various means for effectively implementing such a policy, including market economics, regulation, the broad-based use of scientific knowledge, and open and full public participation.