Water Rights Debate Can Be Intense and Contentious

From Cotton Grower Magazine – July 2014

 

If you think the politics surrounding elections are tough, consider the politics of water.

At one point this spring, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that more than 30 percent of the U.S. is currently experiencing moderate drought conditions. And drought conditions over more than half of the land area in seven states – California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas – were categorized as severe, extreme or exceptional.

Blame it, if you choose, on El Niño, La Nina, global warming or even the Bossa Nova. But the political arguments and haggling over water rights in some areas have become intense and often contentious. In some cases, old treaties and grandfathered agreements have been dusted off in the search for solutions:

  • A 1944 International Water Treaty between the United States and Mexico was cited last year during debate over water supplies to the Rio Grande Valley. That treaty outlines the use of common water resources along the Texas-Mexico border, including the Rio Grande River and its tributaries, and specifies that Mexico is to deliver 350,000 acre-feet of water to the Valley each year. Mexico has fallen behind in deliveries over the past five years, leading to involvement from the U.S. State Department.
  • California’s Friant Water Authority manages surface water supplies for cities and farms along the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley. This year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation diverted that water to fulfill contractual obligations to the Exchange Contractors, who hold some of the oldest water rights in California and are guaranteed by federal contract to receive at least 75 percent of their annual surface water allotment. A U.S. district judge denied the water authority’s request for a temporary restraining order, meaning that many farms will receive no surface water this year.

Agriculture obviously suffers under these conditions, as do municipalities and industries that rely on reservoir, lake and river levels for water. There’s a human toll, too. A University of California, Davis economic study predicted that up to 14,500 full time and seasonal workers could lose jobs as farmers take land out of production due to the drought. Similar situations can also be found in other local economies throughout the country.

Recent rain events in parts of the country have brought some temporary relief and a bit of optimism, especially for agriculture. But the reality remains – water will remain both a precious commodity and political hot potato.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

News Stories
News

Cotton Incorporated Launches Cotton Cultivated Website

September 1, 2015

Cotton Incorporated has launched Cotton Cultivated, a new website designed to provide quick and easy access to important cotton industry information.

News

Chinese Spinners Investing in New U.S. Mills

August 13, 2015

New textile jobs are coming back to the American South, but on much different terms.

News

Southwest Growers to See Mid-South Cotton Operations

August 11, 2015

Twelve cotton producers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are visiting Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee August 17-20 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Western Cotton Producers to Visit Georgia Operations

July 31, 2015

Ten Western cotton producers are visiting South Georgia as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Winners Named in PhytoGen Best Yielder Club Sweepstakes

July 31, 2015

A Texas cotton grower is the grand prize winner of the 2015 PhytoGen Best Yielder Club sweepstakes.

News

Focus on Cotton Series Adds Sulfur Fertilization Webcast

July 23, 2015

A new webcast to help growers identify and address sulfur deficiencies in cotton is now available as part of the Focus on Cotton webinar series.

News

Mid-South Cotton Producers to See Texas Agriculture

July 21, 2015

Ten Mid-South cotton producers are visiting Texas as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

Around The Gin
Product News

Falcon Adds Two New Automated Precision Soil Samplers

August 28, 2015

Falcon Soil Technology has added two new automated soil sampling systems to its product lineup.

Product News

HUMA GRO Adds New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulation for Crops

August 28, 2015

BORO-MAX, a new boron 10 percent liquid nutrient formulation, is now available from HUMA GRO.

Product News

On-Farm Research Helps Ease Grower Questions About Enlist System

July 31, 2015

Southern cotton and soybean growers who have worked with the Enlist Weed Control System in on-farm research plots are now sharing their experiences.

Product News

Nufarm Introduces Panther SC Herbicide

July 24, 2015

Nufarm is introducing Panther SC herbicide, a new broad-spectrum herbicide for use in cotton and other Southern row crops.

Product News

USDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait

July 23, 2015

The USDA has deregulated Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the United States.

Product News

Ratting Out Copper Theft

June 10, 2015

A simple alarm technology is helping to stop copper thieves who target irrigation systems.

Product News

EPA Approves New Premix for 2016 for Cotton, Soybean Weed Control

May 29, 2015

Cotton and soybean growers will have a new weed control option in 2016 with Warrant Ultra Herbicide, a premix of acetochlor and fomesafen.

Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Eighth Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluation

April 28, 2015

Nearly 200 farmers will be part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator program this year to help evaluate cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.

Latest News
News

Cotton Incorporated Launches Cotton Cultivated Website

September 1, 2015

Cotton Incorporated has launched Cotton Cultivated, a new website designed to provide quick and easy access to important cotton industry information.

News

Cotton Prices Go Limit Up Following August USDA Reports

August 13, 2015

Hours after USDA released its August production and world supply/demand reports, cotton prices jumped from their lowest point in years to go limit up. The question - will prices hold?

News

Chinese Spinners Investing in New U.S. Mills

August 13, 2015

New textile jobs are coming back to the American South, but on much different terms.

News

Southwest Growers to See Mid-South Cotton Operations

August 11, 2015

Twelve cotton producers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are visiting Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee August 17-20 as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Western Cotton Producers to Visit Georgia Operations

July 31, 2015

Ten Western cotton producers are visiting South Georgia as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Winners Named in PhytoGen Best Yielder Club Sweepstakes

July 31, 2015

A Texas cotton grower is the grand prize winner of the 2015 PhytoGen Best Yielder Club sweepstakes.

News

Mark Pryor Named Chairman/CEO of The Seam

July 23, 2015

Mark Pryor has been named Chairman and CEO of The Seam, effective August 1, by the organization’s Board of Directors.

News

Focus on Cotton Series Adds Sulfur Fertilization Webcast

July 23, 2015

A new webcast to help growers identify and address sulfur deficiencies in cotton is now available as part of the Focus on Cotton webinar series.

News

Mid-South Cotton Producers to See Texas Agriculture

July 21, 2015

Ten Mid-South cotton producers are visiting Texas as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Lacy Named to Lead PYCO Industries

July 16, 2015

Robert Lacy has been named President and CEO of cottonseed processor PYCO Industries, effective October 1.

News

VA/NC Cotton Field Day Set for August 11

July 8, 2015

The Tidewater Agricultural Research & Extension Center in Suffolk, VA, will host the 2015 Cotton Field Day on August 11.

News

Southeastern Cotton Producers to See San Joaquin Valley Agriculture

July 7, 2015

Thirteen Southeastern cotton producers are visiting California’s San Joaquin Valley as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2015 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

SePRO Corporation Realigns Business Units

July 7, 2015

SePRO Corporation has announced changes to its sales and marketing structure to help enhance visibility and growth in the agriculture and specialty chemical markets.

News

Cotton Transition Assistance Program Enrollment Begins

July 6, 2015

Farmers in eligible counties may enroll in the Cotton Transition Assistance Program from July 6 through September 30.

News

Otahal Family Wins Kotton Kidz Prize for 2014

July 2, 2015

The Otahal family of Corpus Christi, Texas, is the grand-prize winner of the 2014 Kotton Kidz Photo Contest, sponsored by