A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Thankscaking (Thanksgiving + cake) (11/25)
“If it burns, it earns” (11/25)
Two Left Feet (clumsy at dancing) (11/25)
“Studying—notice how they conveniently put ‘dying’ at the end of this word” (11/24)
“The only person telling you the truth in politics is the one who says he is not voting for you” (11/24)
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Entry from May 31, 2014
“Water flows uphill toward money”

Water usually follows gravity and flows downhill. “Water flows uphill to/toward/towards money” is a jocular saying popular where water is scarce, such as in California, Arizona and Texas. Water flow uphill to large cities in those states because the cities have the money to afford it.

“Water will find its own economic level” was cited in print in 1973, in a Texas publication. “Water flows uphill toward money” was cited in 1974, in a story about the Rocky Mountains. “We have always maintained that water seeks its own economic level, or as it is sometimes expressed, ‘water flows uphill to money’” was cited in 1977.


Google Books
Proceedings of the eleventh West Texas Water Conference: Texas Technological University, Lubbock, Texas, March 23, 1973
Texas Technological University, West Texas Water Institute
Lubbock, TX: Texas Technological University
1973
Pg. 2:
But, essentially, what this report does (and this is my opinion, not Mr. Burleigh’s) is to establish the basic principle that water will find its own economic level.

28 November 1974, Greensboro (NC) Daily News, “Rocky Mountains Getting Clutter ad Pollution” (New York Times News Service), pg. D12, col. 4:
Water, in this semi-arid region, is already in short supply. There is a saying here: water flows uphill toward money.

Google Books
Water Needs for the Future:
Political, economic, legal, and technological issues in a national and international framework

By Ved P Nanda; University of Denver. College of Law.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press
1977
Pg. 110:
We have always maintained that water seeks its own economic level, or as it is sometimes expressed, “water flows uphill to money.”

Google Books
Conflict Regulation
By Paul Ernest Wehr
Boulder, CO: Westview Press
1979
Pg. 159:
Only time water flows uphill is when there’s money upstream. — Western Slope aphorism

Google Books
The Great Plains:
Perspectives and Prospects

Edited by Merlin P. Lawson and Maurice E. Baker
Lincoln, NE: Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
1981
Pg. 171:
Moses’s Third Law states that water seeks its own economic level, or, as it is sometimes more crudely stated, water flows uphill to money.

Google Books
Saving Water in a Desert City
By William Edwin Martin, et al.
Washington, DC: Resources for the Future; Baltimore, MD: Distributed by the Johns Hopkins University Press
1984
Pg. 4:
It is an old saying that water flows uphill toward money.

Google Books
Cadillac Desert:
The American West and Its Disappearing Water

By Marc Reisner
New York, NY: Penguin Books
1986
Pg. 13:
In the West, it is said, water flows uphill toward money. And it literally does, as it leaps three thousand feet across the Tehachapi Mountains in gigantic siphons to slake the thirst of Los Angeles, as it is shoved a thousand feet out of Colorado River canyons to water Phoenix and Palm Springs and the irrigated lands around them.

Google Books
Water Wars:
Privatization, Pollution and Profit

By Vandana Shiva
London: Pluto Press
2002
Pg. 28:
You know the saying, “In Colorado water flows uphill, towards money.”

Google Books
The Quotable Rebel
By Teishan Latner
Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press
2005
Pg. 77:
Water flows uphill towards money.
Proverb from the American West.

Google Books
The Swamp:
The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

By Michael Grunwald
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
2006
Pg. 288:
He often quoted Mark Twain: “Water flows uphill—towards money.”

Twitter
joelbush
‏@joelbush
@LHenry_rch @cubbie9000 @juliogatx
“Water flows uphill towards money.” – common saying in the American West
http://www.amazon.com/Road-River-Boy-Politics-Supersuburb/dp/0876112351
9:41 AM - 22 May 2014

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Saturday, May 31, 2014 • Permalink