After a federal water commission published Water in the West: The Challenge for the Next Century (HCN, 6/22/98), a 250-member industry group known as the Family Farm Alliance went to work on a report of its own. Irrigated agriculture has gotten the blame for the West's water woes, members say, and they want to clear their name. The result is Western Irrigation Economic Benefits Review: Irrigated Agriculture's Role for the 21st Century, written by planner Darryll Olsen and economist Houshmand Ziari, and promoted by a Beverly Hills public relations firm. The report fiercely defends farming that depends on dams and diverting water from the region's rivers. Without cheap water, the writers say, American agriculture would founder, along with a significant portion of the U.S. economy. In technical prose, the half-inch-thick report calls for a compromise that won't significantly impact their "quiet industry."


For a copy, send $10 to the Family Farm Alliance, 9217 Laguana Lake Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758, (916/683-7196).


*Dustin Solberg