Droughtland Special Screening

On Tuesday, February 10, law students, professors, practitioners, and interested community members filled a classroom of the Ricketson Law Building for a screening of the documentary, Droughtland. The forty-five minute film, directed and produced by Steffan Tubbs, explores life in southeastern Colorado through the eyes of the farmers, ranchers, and community members impacted by current drought conditions that echo the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s. These Coloradans tell their own stories amidst quotes of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, with twangy old-school folk songs infused throughout. The result is a deeply powerful, moving, human portrayal of weather patterns, soil conditions, and generations of agricultural pride. One community member reflects that the drought is “less about the survival of the crops and more about the survival of small communities.” In the film, Sturm College of Law Professor Tom Romero explains that Colorado water is vastly over-appropriated, meaning there are more people with legal claims to water than there is water to fill those needs. Professor Romero calls on everyone, not just water law practitioners, to work collaboratively to practice responsible use, so no one is left high and dry. Following the film, a discussion panel of Professor Romero, Tubbs, and film writer Pat Woodard entertained thought-provoking questions from the audience. Questions ranged from drought impacts on poverty rates to tribal water rights and climate change. Professor Romero closed the evening by reminding us that “[w]ater is a daily experience.” Droughtland is a must-see film for any water consumer in the state of Colorado. More information can be found at www.droughtland.com.