Smarter Farming Leads to More Water for Rivers
Today’s guest blog about the #1 Colorado River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Brooke Webb, owner of Mesa Park Vineyards and a member of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition. The National Young Farmers’ Coalition, “Envisions a country where young people who are willing to work, get trained, and take a little risk can support themselves and their families in farming.”
My family lived in Denver for many years and one day on a trip to Grand Junction in 2008 we fell in love with and then bought the Mesa Park Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado. Our operation is a small, family-owned and run business. The farm is 10 acres total, and we focus on creating superior wines— over a 1000 cases per year. To produce the plump grapes we need for our winemaking, we rely heavily on a healthy flowing Colorado River.
Farmers throughout the West depend on the Colorado River’s waters to grow the food that feeds our nation, and we are all understandably concerned about the condition of the river. The Colorado is so over-burdened— supplying 36 million people with water for growing and drinking— and managed with inefficient technologies.
Without the river we would have no business and no grapes. It’s extremely important not only to us, but to other vineyards, orchards, and farms in the area.
To make a difference, we joined a group last year called the National Young Farmers’ Coalition to help improve agricultural usage of water. Simple measures like upgrading to more efficient irrigation technology go a long way to protecting the health of the Colorado River and the viability of rural communities.
Mesa Park Vineyards, and all of the Palisade fruit and wine businesses, are part of a multibillion dollar recreation and tourism industry, which is a pillar of our Western economy. To ensure that this economic engine thrives, we must pay attention to manage our water resources well and reinvigorate the mighty Colorado River System.
Lend your voice to this effort to protect the Colorado! Tell Congress to support funding for conservation programs that will protect the Colorado River for future generations!