The Economic Impact of a Possible Irrigation-Water Shortage in Odessa Sub-Basin: Potato Production & Processing
The Columbia Basin Project (CBP) was one of the single largest projects undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation. The venture, which started in the 1930s in Central Washington, did not entirely turn out as expected. In fact, almost half of the proposed irrigable area, located mainly in the northeastern portion of the original plan, doesn’t have any water supply from the project for irrigation purposes. The Odessa Sub-area is one of those areas. The land in this area is fertile and produces very high quality potatoes. Over the last couple of decades, potato production in this Odessa sub-region has been possible primarily because of irrigation based on deep wells. However, the underground water is drawing down and potato production may shut down as a result. Therefore, an economic threat on the economy of the Columbia Basin is in the offing, unless alternative water sources are negotiated. In this paper, we will mainly explore the regional economic impacts of the possible losses of potato production and its associated processing in the Odessa Sub-area. In section A, we briefly discuss the current status of the Columbia Basin Project. In section B, we discuss ground water level decline issues. In section C, we enumerate the economic impacts of the possible losses in potato production in the Odessa Sub-area and associated loss of potato processing. Summary and conclusions are in the final section.
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