Las Vegas Sun

October 2, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Farming choices not smart in desert

I read many letters to the editor expressing concern over Las Vegas’ continued growth in the midst of a lengthy drought. Suggestions from desalinization to a moratorium on building keep surfacing, without anyone bringing up Imperial Valley.

Imperial Valley, part of the Mojave Desert, was once rich with fertile soils periodically washed down by the Colorado River during very high water flows. Originally, farmers found the nutrient-rich soils and long growing seasons to be very beneficial in agricultural endeavors. The problem was the sporadic water flows of the river and the periodic floods wiping out their crops. Then along came the dams, creating a series of water impoundments to create a more predictable crop season. Imperial Valley must now fertilize this desert since flooding no longer happens to naturally enrich the soil, and they can waste water by the billions of gallons because of the giant reservoirs created.

If growing a city the size of Las Vegas is considered silly by many, what must they think of the massive agricultural industry wasting water in the desert? Cactus is all that naturally grows here, so why are we attempting to grow crops that require high amounts of water? There is plenty of water to go around if we get wise and look at the ridiculous attempts at farming in a ultra-arid climate. I strongly believe that these crops can thrive far better east of the Mississippi.

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