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Tag Archives: agriculture

Rain, snow won’t be enough to end West’s drought (access required)

snowpack, Colorado River, drought, Arizona, Colorado, California, Rocky Mountains

The West has been slammed by wet weather this winter: An “atmospheric river” has pummeled California with weeks of heavy rain and the Rocky Mountains are getting buried with snow. That’s good news for the Colorado River, but climate scientists say the 40 million people who use the river’s water should take the good news with a grain of salt.

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Arizona’s alfalfa is essential, water crisis solution that leads to food supply issue is no fix

drought, alfalfa, Colorado River, Arizona Farm Bureau

Concerns over the Colorado River have led the everyday Arizonan to think about water in ways they haven’t before. As a result, much has been made as of late about growing “thirsty crops” in Arizona’s desert climate. It doesn’t take long to find an opinion or editorial about how farming alfalfa is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the water system in Arizona, but this rhetoric needs to stop.

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AZ relationship with water changed forever

Arizona promotes itself as a world leader in water management. Yet rural wells and rivers are drying up since sustainable water management plans are hindered by laws no longer appropriate for these times. Our relationship with desert water has changed, and our water laws must change too. 

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Can agriculture use less water?

The time has come to start asking the hard questions. Does an industry that adds 1% to the state GDP have the right to mine our groundwater, destroy our flowing rivers, and take water that can never be replaced? Can this industry be reformed or modernized to use less water? How do we better protect Arizona's water resources so that flowing streams and rivers are not dried out by thirsty groundwater wells growing alfalfa for dairy cows? Should certain crops be discouraged or banned? Should groundwater pumping have a monetary cost?

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Ask the right water question

There are thankful ranchers across Arizona, myself included, after an extraordinary monsoon season that filled our scorched dirt tanks with water and re-seeded our rangelands with knee-high green grass. But well below the surface, and just up-stream, the drought persists.

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