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.
Ruth A. Morgan completed her PhD at The University of Western Australia in 2012 and took up a lecturing position at Monash University in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. Her doctoral thesis was awarded the 2013 Margaret Medcalf Prize by the State Records Office of Western Australia for excellence in reference and research, and shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association's Serle Award for the best postgraduate thesis in Australian History.
In 2013, Morgan was a visiting scholar at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. She has presented at international conferences at Renmin University in Beijing (co-sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society); the Australian Historical Association in Wollongong; the European Society for Environmental History in Munich; and the International Water History Conference in Montpellier.
Morgan has recently co-edited a volume of Studies in Western Australian History and is currently editing a volume of History of Meteorology. She is a member of the Australian Historical Association, the Australian Garden History Association, and the International Commission for the History of Meteorology. She also coordinates the 'Making Public Histories' seminar series, which is a joint initiative with the History Council of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria. Although still in her early career, Morgan has published several dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals, and in outlets such as The Conversation and The West Australian.
"Ruth Morgan has written a book that wears its scholarship easily and tells its story briskly with grace and skill [...] an analysis that has relevance well beyond Australia."
- Richard White, Stanford University
"Lucid and engaging, this book tells a compelling story with vital implications for the nation's future [...] This is environmental history at its best."
- Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales