Thinking West: Water-Witch

Water-witch*: noun. One who claims to be able to find underground water by means of a divining rod; a dowser.

Finding reliable sources of freshwater is a problem that plagues the American West. People resort to a number of obscure methods for obtaining sources of subterranean water. New homesteaders in the American West might pay a water-witch a few dollars to find a reliable source of water. Although water-witches are often associated with the bygone homesteading days, it still persists in areas plagued by terrible droughts.


*Source: Free Dictionary (2014)

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Eastern New Mexico University’s literary magazine, El Portal, offers a venue for the work of writers, artists and photographers. ENMU students, national, and international writers are welcome to submit their original, previously unpublished short stories, plays, poetry and photography. No entry fees are charged. Cash prizes are awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in each category (only ENMU students qualify). El Portal is published each semester at Eastern thanks to Dr. Jack Williamson, a world-renowned science fiction writer and professor emeritus at ENMU who underwrote the publication. El Portal has been published since 1939.