• If surface water can be compared with interest income, and non-renewable groundwater with capital, then much of the West was living mainly on interest income. California was milking interest and capital in about equal proportion. The plains states, however, were devouring capital as a gang of spendthrift heirs might squander a great capitalist's fortune.

    Marc Reisner (1986). “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water”