Financing Water Reform in the Western United States
4 Solutions Journal, 2014, Forthcoming
Posted: 16 Jun 2013 Last revised: 15 Sep 2013
Date Written: June 14, 2013
Water scarcity threatens much of the American West yet farmers who use 70-80% of each state’s water, often use flood irrigation — the least efficient method — to water their crops (USGS 2011). Almost half of all the water used to irrigate western croplands is delivered by flood irrigation (USGS 2011). To make this point is not to blame farmers, who, after all, have operated this way for generations. Legal rules are fairly permissive when it comes to insisting that farmers use modern, technologically sophisticated irrigation technologies that cost huge sums of money to install (Glennon 2009). Instead, it’s to suggest that the non-farm sector has an enormous interest in financing the overhaul of agricultural irrigation practices in the West (Glennon 2009). In this article, we sketch a program for financing the reform of western water that would achieve greater sustainability of food systems as well as the freshwater ecosystems that depend on increasingly scarce supplies of freshwater in the western U.S.
Keywords: water scarcity, flood irrigation, irrigation practices, sustainability, freshwater ecosystems
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation