Responding to the Agricultural Water Crisis
BEAMSVILLE –Dean Allison, Member of Parliament for Niagara West is championing the cause to find a long term solution to the water crisis faced by farmers during a drought. Allison held a round table meeting of key industry stakeholders from the tender fruit, grape growing and greenhouse industries in Niagara.
“Given that we’re dealing with one of the worst droughts on record, we need to find a way to help farmers survive,” said Allison. “It’s ridiculous that we live between two Great Lakes and have a shortage of water.”
Tender fruit grower, Len Troup said, “what we have is two months without any rain. There has been nothing.”
Phil Tregunnno, Chair of the Tender Fruit Growers’ Marketing Board said, “this has been an historic drought. It’s likely going to happen again. Some sort of solution needs to be found.”
The participants talked about a number of options to give growers access to both irrigation and clean water for use on the farm. They said it’s a matter of food safety, economic development and dealing with climate change.
Bill Schenck is the Chair of the Grape and Tender Fruit Irrigation Committee. Niagara growers’ access to water is an issue that’s resulted in numerous studies. The infrastructure costs could run upwards of 100 million dollars.
Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton said, “there is no other issue that we’ve been talking about that is more important or more relevant.” Dean Allison says the time to act is now. “We know what the options are we need the political will to proceed.”
All the stakeholders will be meeting within weeks to map out their next steps.