Help, please

Barbara Tsatsoulis-Bonnekessen (BARBARA@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU)
Thu, 6 Oct 1994 12:05:38 -0500

After so many people helped me out with my last student project,
here's another one (different student, same class):

My student is researching (for her term project) the case of a
Kansas lake which is privately owned by several residents. The lake
is periodically polluted by irriation drainage, flooded through
the draining of one farmer's fields (which invites all the mosquitos),
and dried by lack of rainwater (which kills the fish and smells bad).
Some of the residents (who do not own lakeside property) have
asked the city for help (whose sewage system gets flooded when the
lake is high enough), but the lake is out of city limits. County
officials are also claiming that they have no jurisdiction.

It seems that some physical scientists are working on this, but
my student is interested in the power balance displayed here between
some polluters (who can't be stopped), residents (who have no
legal claim), and government (which throws up its proverbial hands).

The whole thing reminds me of toxic waste disposal issues in "Third
World" countries, but most of the literature I am familiar with
treats that on the state level with only little regard for local

Finally, my question: among the applied anthros out there, does anybody
know of similar cases and how these were resolved? We are looking
specifically for similar situations which could help the "Save the Lake"
committee (I assume my student is a member) to solve this impasse
to everybody's satisfaction, or, if that's not possible, at least
save the lake without throwing the farmer into bankruptcy.

Sorry to be so long winded,

Barbara Tsatsoulis-Bonnekessen
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Washburn University