Thursday, September 24, 2009

Innovative Water Buy Back Program

Around the semi-arid west many fish bearing streams also provide water for irrigation. With the degradation of riparian and upland forests and high water demand, many streams are running dry during the summer months. Now, a new water offsets program run by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation is putting water back in thirsty streams. Industry users of water can buy water credits equivalent to their use and the money will go to pay irrigators to leave money in the stream. In the past irrigation has been a use it or loose it proposition where those who held water rights were compelled to use their entire allocation. With the new program however there is a financial incentive for some farmers to leave the water in the stream. The project is having very tangible effects on a few streams already and is only getting started. See more coverage in the Oregonian.

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