John Fleck

Director of Water Resources, Department of Economics

University of New Mexico

John Fleck

Contact Information


Research Interests & Background

A former science journalist, John Fleck is focused on the problems of the Colorado River, an imperiled water source on which 40 million people in the United States and Mexico depend. As a Professor of Practice in Water Policy and Governance in the University of New Mexico Department of Economics, he co-teaches classes in contemporary water policy issues, modeling, and technical communication for water managers. He served as director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program from 2016-21, and is now Writer in Residence with the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He first wrote about water in the 1980s as a beat reporter covering the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is the author of the books Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West, an exploration of solutions to the Colorado River Basin’s water problems, and co-author of Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River.

Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations


Jones, Benjamin A., and John Fleck. Shrinking lakes, air pollution, and human health: Evidence from California's Salton SeaScience of the Total Environment 712 (2020): 136490.

Fleck, John, and Anne Castle. Green Light for Adaptive Policies on the Colorado River. Water (2022) 14(1), 2;

Kuhn, Eric, and John Fleck. Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. University of Arizona Press, 2019. 

Fleck, John. Water is for fighting over: And other myths about water in the west. Island Press, (2016).

Castle, Anne and Fleck, John, The Risk of Curtailment under the Colorado River Compact (November 8, 2019). Available at

Jones, Benjamin A., and John Fleck. "Urban Trees and Water Use in Arid Climates: Insights from an Integrated Bioeconomic-Health Model." Water Economics and Policy 4.04 (2018): 1850022.