Don't let ag become an afterthought in Modesto

April 29, 2013 

The Modesto Irrigation District was built as a publicly owned utility by farmers for farmers in 1887. The district delivered irrigation water in 1904. Power generation electrical service started in 1923. The electricity is sold as a byproduct to subsidize the overall cost of the total operation. Until recently the electric rates have been among the lowest in the country. Modesto city water is also sold at the same rate as agricultural water.

To see the errors of the direction we are heading, look to the failings of the Salt River Project in Arizona. The result is one of the largest urban megalopolises in the United States, which is plundering the Colorado watershed and any other source of water in the Southwestern states. It is golf courses and retirement communities. Agriculture is barely surviving or near dead.

Question for the MID: How does the Oakdale Irrigation District deliver much more water to its farmers for many less dollars?

RON HARDING

Modesto

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