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  1. #1
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    Nov 2004

    Water problems may be solved in farms

    Funny how this story, that ran in the Birmingham News, is different than the one they printed. They left out all the parts about Mexico. I am going to see if I can find the same version they ran. Small farmers beware! The International River Network says you are using to much water! I can see the globalist solution now. No more mom and pop farms. Everything will be big agriculture conglomerates and we will HAVE no idea what they are doing to our food! ... ernational

    Water problems may be solved in farms
    3/19/2006, 8:07 a.m. ET
    The Associated Press

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Farms and their wasteful irrigation systems are a major contributor to water scarcity on the globe, nations at a world water summit said Saturday.

    Farming accounts for 70 percent of the water consumed and most of its wasteful use, said representatives of 130 nations at the World Water Forum discussing water management.

    One-fifth of the world's population lacks safe drinking water, the United Nations said in a report last week that laid much of the blame on mismanagement of resources.

    "Farmers are central to the whole picture. They use the majority of the world's water, and farmers are where most of the world's poverty is concentrated," Patrick McCully, director of International River Network, a non-governmental organization, said at the forum.

    Agriculture cannot be ignored in the water equation, said Gerald Galloway, a civil engineer and visiting scholar with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    "It is an important part of the U.S. economy, and it's even more important in the developing world," he said. "You have to be able to provide water for agriculture."

    With 525 million small farms in the world — and 2.5 billion people living off the land — farmers suffer the most from the problems discussed at the forum: poverty, disease, and the lack of sanitation and clean water.

    Drought-parched fields, withered corn stalks and skinny cattle make up the face of the crisis in the developing world.

    Getting farmers to use water less extensively is daunting, speakers said.

    "There are great problems with irrigation. We must persuade our farmers to go to less extensive crops," said Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France. "It's a question of changing the whole agricultural method."

    Traditionally governments have responded to the problems of small farmers — defined as those with plots of 5 acres or less — with big dam projects.

    But most small farms are so high up in the hills or removed from rivers that they cannot benefit from them, said McCully.

    The answer is more efficient irrigation systems, said Ute Collier, of the World Wildlife Fund.

    "We can't afford to waste water in irrigation systems that are 30 to 40 percent efficient," he said. "If we could get that part of the equation done, we could probably cut down the number of dams we're building by half, at least."

    Greater efficiency would free up money to help provide clean drinking water and food to small farmers who, despite raising food, constitute most of the 842 million people in the world who go hungry.

    Many of the world's poor live on less than 2 1/2 gallons of water per day — one-thirtieth of the daily usage in developed nations.

    Collier's work has focused on improving irrigation for notoriously thirsty cash crops, like cotton and sugarcane, although they are seldom grown on the smallest farms.

    Agriculture based on fields that temporarily flood is also a major problem because most of that water is wasted through evaporation, the forum was told.

    Other problems include pesticide and herbicide runoff from farm fields that pollute rivers and lakes, as well as soil erosion and salt buildup from irrigation.

    In Mexico, host of the international forum, farm water disputes are the among the most sensitive issues in its relations with the United States.

    In 2004, farmers in Texas were outraged when Mexico failed to let billions of gallons of water flow into a border river under a 1944 treaty.

    Texans also accused Mexico of growing alfalfa — a water-hungry feed crop — in desert areas. One state politician suggested that the United States retaliate by reducing its flow into another border river, the Colorado.

    Mexico went to court last year to stop the United States from lining one of its irrigation canals with concrete. Mexico claims its farmers had become dependent on water seeping out of the earthen canal, located near the two countries' border. The case has not been resolved.

    Europe also has its conflicts. Spain would like France to share some of its water, but Rocard, France's former prime minister, said the French are reluctant to do so until the Spaniards improve their water management.
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

  2. #2
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    Nov 2004

    U.S. canal plan sparks outcry from Mexico

    Excuse me, if the canal has been leaking, then fix it. No wonder California has a water shortage! Mexicos illegals are taking it over! So, hmm, me thinks they want it both ways. Give them our water in Mexico and give their illegals our water here. ... ernational

    U.S. canal plan sparks outcry from Mexico
    3/18/2006, 1:24 a.m. ET
    The Associated Press

    MEXICALI, Mexico (AP) — Despite its name, the All-American Canal has been leaking water to the Mexican side of the desert border for more than 60 years, nourishing alfalfa, onion and cotton crops that might otherwise wither. Now the U.S. government is preparing to line the earthen channel with concrete.

    Mexican farmers' loss will be California's gain: Scarce water that will no longer be able to seep away instead will help flush toilets and water lawns more than 100 miles west in San Diego.

    And that would affect thousands of families whose fields cover thousands of acres around Mexicali, an industrial city of 800,000 that is gobbling up farmland on its outskirts. Critics of the project say the lining would prevent the replenishment of about 100 rural wells they use.

    Nazario Ortiz, who farms 100 acres about three miles inside Mexico, worries that his hardscrabble community will not survive.

    "Everything comes from the canal, so everything is going to be ruined," said Ortiz, 46, who lives in a village where old pickup trucks and unleashed dogs share dirt roads. "How are people going to make a living?"

    It will be hard, Ortiz says, to stop his sons — ages 22, 18 and 16 — from illegally crossing the border to join relatives in Los Angeles.

    For many of its 82 miles, the canal's green waters trace the U.S.-Mexican border, running through sand dunes and verdant fields to California's Imperial Valley, where it is the lifeblood for 500,000 acres of U.S. farmland.

    The project to line 23 miles of the canal is slated to begin this summer and be completed in 2008. Project managers expect that the refit canal will capture enough water for 135,000 new homes, mostly in San Diego and its suburbs.

    The deal is not, however, ironclad. A group of Mexicali farmers and businesses has sued in federal court in Las Vegas to stop construction; a hearing is scheduled April 24.

    Nearly 3,000 acres in Mexico depend entirely on the All-American, according to the Mexicali Economic Development Council. California also relies on water that the canal siphons from the Colorado River as one of the West's major water sources winds from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.

    For years, water consumption spurred by breakneck growth in Southern California prompted Western states to complain they were not getting their share. A water-redistribution deal in 2003 cleared the way for the lining project, which, at an estimated cost of $225 million, will ease some of the pinch California feels from being able to gulp less water from the Colorado.

    Mexico already gets 489 billion gallons of Colorado River water each year. Supporters of the lining project say that that should suffice — that the canal's seepage is water Mexico is not entitled to get. The Mexican government estimates 90 percent of the canal's seepage ends up in Mexico, according to Enrique Villegas, environmental protection secretary for Mexico's Baja California state.

    "We don't mind sharing, but enough is enough," said Stella Mendoza, who serves on the board of the Imperial Irrigation District, which oversees the canal and solicited construction bids last month.

    Colorado River water first flowed to California's arid southeast in 1901 on the Alamo Canal, which dipped into Mexico. California farmers soon decided they needed a canal completely within the United States, leading to completion of the All-American in 1942.

    Many Mexicans remember fishing on the Alamo in the 1970s. Now it's a bone-dry ditch — full of old tires, empty jugs, soda cans and carcasses of dogs, cats and cows — that winds around sleepy villages in the Mexicali Valley.

    Farmers are not the only Mexicans fretting about the concrete casing. Opponents say lost seepage threatens about a dozen hidden lagoons in Mexicali enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts and hunters.

    Critics also say migrants may die crossing the 175-foot-wide canal because the concrete lining will deprive desperate swimmers of tall grasses to grab. Although the canal appears calm, migrants who cram onto inflatable rafts can be swept away by a fierce undercurrent.

    Nine people died in the canal last year, down from 29 in 2001, according to the Imperial County coroner's office. The drop tracked a shift in border crossings to Arizona as the U.S. government heightened enforcement in California. The coroner's office says canal drownings could rise if California ever regains favor among illegal border crossers.

    To prevent such deaths, crews will build ladders 750 feet apart on both sides of the concrete lining to give desperate swimmers something to grab.

    While Mexican farmers protest the project most loudly, fearing that to recover lost water they'll have to dig deeper wells and pay higher electricity bills, there is surprising resistance in one California border town.

    The City Council of Calexico, Calif., voted in January to oppose the project. The symbolic gesture echoed the opinion of some Imperial Valley farmers.

    "I'm a farmer and those guys are farmers," said Tom Brundy, 49, who sends his four children to a private Catholic school in Mexicali. "I'd hate to have it happen to me."
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

  3. #3
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    Nov 2004

    Mexican protesters vow to fight to the death for water

    Seems the plot thickens. They want to tell us we can't fix a leaking canal and gripe that it is going to hurt them when their own government is doing the same to their own people! Stop blaming us for the conditions in Mexico when it is YOUR government that is screwing you over! ... ink19.html

    Mexican protesters vow to fight to the death for water

    March 19, 2006


    MEXICO CITY -- Water is worth fighting for -- even to the death, activists holding an ''alternate'' forum outside the world water summit said Friday.

    That attitude might seem strange in developed countries, where water flows at the touch of a faucet. But it isn't nearly as accessible in the developing world.

    And water wars aren't an apocalyptic vision of the future. They're starting to happen, protesters say.

    ''We've been beaten, we've been jailed, some of us have even been killed, but we're not going to give up,'' said Marco Suastegui, who marched alongside about 10,000 protesters Thursday outside a convention center where the international Fourth World Water Forum is taking place.

    Suastegui is leading the battle against a dam being built to supply water for the Pacific coastal resort of Acapulco. Opponents fear the dam will dry up the nearby Papagayo River.

    ''We will defend the water of the Papagayo River with our lives, if need be,'' Suastegui said.

    'For us, fear doesn't exist'

    Protesters on Friday organized an alternate forum in Mexico City, miles from the convention site, in which they accused the official summit of serving as cover for companies that want to privatize water services.

    ''The Fourth World Water Forum doesn't represent us,'' said Audora Dominguez of the nongovernmental Mexican Committee for the Defense of Water Rights. ''It's a forum where you have to pay to speak. It's a forum where the poor aren't included.''

    Thursday, youths in ski masks attacked journalists and fought with police, smashing a patrol car and hurling rocks in largely peaceful water forum protests involving about 10,000 marchers. The disturbances appeared to be carried out by mostly radical youths not directly involved with the groups demonstrating against the forum.

    Many of the battles over water in Mexico don't involve people who would otherwise be considered radicals. Those on the front lines are residents of low-income neighborhoods in Mexico City who get in fistfights over water-truck deliveries, or housewives who can no longer stand the stink of untreated sewage flowing beside their homes.

    Then there are the Indian families whose crops are ruined by the diversion of water to feed a nearby city, while their children go without safe drinking water.

    ''We will fight for the rest of our lives. For us, fear doesn't exist,'' said Victoria Martinez Arriaga, a 33-year-old Mazahua Indian woman who led a militant protest in 2004 to demand safe drinking water for local families.
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

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