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Finding Common Ground for Farmers, Food and Fish

In today’s acrimonious political climate, it’s rare to read stories about public and private entities working together for the common good — particularly when it comes to the environment and limited natural resources. This is one of those stories. In 2015, Hood River-based Farmers Conservation Alliance, with support from Energy Trust of Oregon, developed the Irrigation Modernization Program to help irrigation districts and the farmers they serve revolutionize their water delivery systems. The goal? Improve conservation efforts and keep more water flowing for farmers, food and fish. In Central Oregon and throughout the western U.S., aging agricultural infrastructure, an expanding population, persistent droughts and declining fish populations are stressing scarce water resources. Farmers rely on irrigation to grow food. But the centuries-old dams and canals that capture and convey this water from rivers to farms can be inefficient — anywhere from 30 to 70 percent may be lost to seepage … Read more