MADRAS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon farmers who grow 60% of the world’s carrot seed have been without irrigation water for weeks as drought ravages the American West.
But just down the road, sprinklers douse crops and cattle graze in green pastures.
The stark contrast is a consequence of the West’s arcane water law, and it’s brought new urgency to efforts to share the resource.
Proposals to create “water markets” would allow farmers with excess water to lease it to those in need.
It’s part of a discussion about letting the free market play a bigger role in water conservation amid climate change.
Yet larger-scale efforts to spread water more equitably have been uneven.