Redirecting Fresh Water Raises Fears for Farmers

In Courtland, California it has been announced by state and federal officials that two twin 35 mile tunnels will be built.  The purpose of these tunnels is “to tap water from the Sacramento River at intake stations here.”  It would run under the delta and deliver water to aqueducts that supply water to many of California’s most popuated regions and farms.  These plans however, have been very controversial.  Supporters love the idea because they believe that “the pipelines will improve the environment of an increasingly fragile delta.” The pipelines will do this by replacing old pumps that sucked water from the southern delta.  Above all, supporters believe that the tunnels will safely bring water to some of “California’s most economically vital areas.”  Although there are many positives aspects presented by this project, there are also several negatives.  Farmland and fish will both take huge hits because by building these tunnels, the amount of salt water in the area will greatly increase.  This is an especially huge problem in Courtland because farming is how most people make a living there.  “That’s our rub.  They want to take these islands and the way weve existed for 150 years,” said Chuck Baker, a local pear farmer who fears the consequences of the project.  His work, pear farming, is a huge moneymaker in the area.  Residents of Courtland take pride in the fact that they are farming off of the same land as their ancestors.  “It’s a secial feeling that I’m picking from the same pear trees that my father did and that his father did,” said Richard Elliot Jr., who’s family has been picking pears for 6 generations.  This is a difficult situation because both the positives and negatives have huge impacts.  By approving this plan, however, the way of life of the people of Courtland is being destroyed at the sake of helping the environment. 

Ben Roberts

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