There’s a war of words going on out West that is by turns hilarious and illustrative of the deep divisions regarding the use of water in our arid region.
The trigger was a comment by Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman in response to Tim Barnett’s study suggestion Lake Mead had a 50-50 chance of going dry by 2021. Goodman’s response? Dry up the farms in the Imperial Valley! Needless to say, this has not been well received among the folks who grow our winter lettuce (free reg. req.):
Imperial Irrigation District spokesman Kevin Kelley said that kind of reasoning is typical.
“It is a kind of disconnect that agricultural areas like ours runs into. … We don’t think it’s an accident that the mayor of Las Vegas has immediately seized on the notion that fallowing in the Imperial Valley is the quick fix to an urban water shortage in Las Vegas,” he said.
The Imperial Valley grows an estimated 90 percent of the nation’s winter vegetables. In 2006 the Valley produced $1.6 billion worth of agricultural products, according the Imperial County Farm Bureau.
“Without a doubt Las Vegas is enjoying the food grown in California with the water they want,” said Nicole M. Rothfleisch, executive director of the Farm Bureau.