|RESOLUTION ON COLUMBIA
RIVER IRRIGATION PROJECT
|ISSUE||The Columbia River
Irrigation District Project of the Bureau of Reclamation was conceived
during the Great Depression as a makework project which included
hydroelectric power generation, provided for flood control and for the
irrigation of one million acres of semi-arid land. One-half of
this acreage is presently being farmed under irrigation. The
Bureau is now proceeding toward the irrigation of the other 500,000
|These 500,000 acres are
already under cultivation, either by farms irrigated by water pumped
from the aquifer or by dryland farms. The Bureau is proposing to
convert immediately 87,000 acres of the area into irrigated farming,
the rest to be irrigated in the future.
requires massive doses of chemically based fertilizer, herbicides, and
pesticides, all of which eventually seep into the aquifer and thence
into the river. The land becomes saline and the humus destroyed.
|Respected economists have
concluded that the cost benefit of this project will be 23¢ of
benefit to $1.00 of cost. Another effect of this ill-advised
project is its adverse effect on water quality. But the most
serious effect of this method of farming is the destruction of the land
through salinization and chemical pollution. Eventually, this
leads to desertification that is irreversible.
||The Bureau of Reclamation
has recently published its Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Alternate 1 proposes the irrigation of the entire 500,000 acres
now. Alternate 2 provides for a beginning phase of 87,000 acres
now. Alternate 3 provides for no action. The Bureau
recommends Alternate 2.
|WHAT TO DO
||The Federation of Western
Outdoor Clubs opposes both Alternate 1 and the Bureau's recommended
Alternate 2, and approves and endorses Alternate 3 for no action.
|Copies of this resolution
and/or correspondence concerning it should be sent to the Bureau of
Reclamation and the Columbia River Power Authority, and to Governor
Booth Gardner of Washington state.
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