Alfalfa is a very water intensive crop. It takes about 6 times as much water to grow alfalfa compared quality native grass, while only yielding about twice the useful nutritional value of native grass/hay.
Beans however are more efficient than alfalfa looking at water used vs. nutritional value yielded.
While the use of dammed rivers to provide irrigation to dry land is debatable I would rather dam a river to help provide food production to an economy than damming the same river to provide water to cities that are developed in arid areas.
When we have curtailed Denver’s, Las Vegas, LA’s, etc… insatiable desire for water, golf courses, and bluegrass lawns, maybe we can look at agribusiness use. At least food production helps our country become more sustainable. Having a Masters golf course that most people will never have the money (and skills in my case) to play does nothing for health of our country.
I live in the desert, therefore I adapt my house and lifestyle to the desert. I have xerascaped my property, use less than 1200 gallons of water for my household monthly and am working on a greywater reclamation system. People that adapt their environment to them is deplorable; you want a bluegrass lawn? Move to the east or northwest where groundwater and rain is abundant. I fly in and out of DIA very often and am always saddened when I see a ridiculous amount of green golf courses and lawns in an otherwise brown landscape.
In the San Luis Valley among other place things are changing for the better. People are fighting those that pump unregulated from aquifers, and lawsuits are in place to require any water pumped out must be recharged in full using existing water rights/calls. These same people that are fighting unregulated pumping are the same families that homesteaded the area over 100 years ago. They have an interest in the land other than money and greed, so they are doing all they can do to protect their homes, and way of life. Many have been involved in the 'holistic' agriculture model for decades because they care about the land, wildlife, soils, etc.. The ones that pump unregulated are often large potato and alfalfa operations that see a 'redneck' area where their lawyers and money can dupe the local yocals out of generations of hard work and water projects.
This should be interesting to watch play out in the SLV, because several years ago the front range wanted to pump from that same aquifer to augment their municipal water supplies with the AWDI project. This battle may determine what happens in many other western communities when it come down to water for cities or food production.
On that note off to the Dolores! Kick ASS!
Sport Climbing is Neither