Obama's greatest opportunity to address the conflict between water and energy may lie not in undoing policies from the past, but in looking to the future.
"The administration has an opportunity to start thinking about water as a national resource," said Nevada's Mulroy. "We have no rear view mirrors anymore."
This story was co-published with the San Diego Union-Tribune and also appears in that newspaper's Dec. 21, 2008 issue.
Abrahm Lustgarten is an investigative reporter for ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces journalism in the public interest.