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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 09:34 PM

U.S. Southwest, already parched, sees 'virtual water' drain abroad


U.S. Southwest, already parched, sees ‘virtual water’ drain abroad
As the Colorado River Basin enters yet another year of drought, global companies are worsening the water crisis.

Driving into Southern California’s Palo Verde Valley from the Arizona border, fields of vibrant green appear out of the desert like a mirage. Near the town of Blythe, water from the Colorado River turns the dry earth into verdant farmland, much of it to grow a single crop — alfalfa, a type of plant used mainly to feed dairy cows.

For decades, a significant portion of alfalfa grown here and elsewhere in the western United States — as much as 17 percent in 2017 — has been loaded onto trucks, driven hundreds of miles to ports on the west coast, and shipped around the world, mainly to China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. A little over five years ago, one company decided it made more sense to own the land, and the water that came with it, outright.

The company, a Saudi Arabian dairy firm called Almarai, purchased 1,790 acres in the Palo Verde Valley to secure a supply of alfalfa for its dairy cows. Soon after, Saudi Arabia began phasing out domestic alfalfa production to preserve its water supplies, which were dwindling after years of overuse for agriculture. The purchase made headlines as critics including local politicians and environmentalists questioned whether it was fair for a foreign entity to use up valuable groundwater resources for products that wouldn’t ultimately benefit Americans.

But the company is far from alone. Foreign corporations are increasingly purchasing land in the U.S.; in the Southwest, thanks to longstanding laws on water rights, these purchases often come with unlimited access to the valuable water underneath the soil. Combined with nearly year-round sunshine, this has made the area a magnet for companies looking to grow water-intensive crops and raise livestock. Over the last 20 years, foreign companies have purchased more than 250,000 acres of land in six Southwestern states to raise cattle and pigs, as well as to grow everything from almonds to alfalfa, according to an analysis of purchase data that Undark obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. .............(more)

https://grist.org/agriculture/u-s-southwest-already-parched-sees-virtual-water-drain-abroad/




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Reply U.S. Southwest, already parched, sees 'virtual water' drain abroad (Original post)
marmar Jun 8 OP
PortTack Jun 8 #1
Blue_true Jun 8 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 10:21 PM

1. It is so dry in AZ that the saguaro cacti are falling over! And what does the state government

Do??? Worthless Audits...huge water problems..but let’s do an audit

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 10:25 PM

2. And Ammon Bundy is readying a water war.

He is riling up farmers whose allocations were cut. Maybe people can try irrigating crops differently? It may behoove governments to help farmers install drip irrigation systems, or set up soilless plant farms.

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