Target: US Congress
Goal: Demand that farmers use water conservation subsidies to conserve water, not abuse it
Since 1997, the US government has spent one billion dollars subsidizing farmers in hopes of configuring more effective irrigation systems to conserve water. Research shows these subsidies have not been used to conserve water and instead farmers are using more, threatening the rapidly depleting water table, streams and aquifers. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program introduced in 1996 was designed to help farmers buy more water efficient irrigation equipment, but it has proved to be a failed bill.
Water tables across the US farmlands have fallen 15 percent to 75 percent since the 1950s and show no signs of slowing. Some states have abused the subsidies as much as building larger irrigation systems and growing thirstier than average crops. The vast depletion of water tables is not only harmful for agriculture, but drinking water as well.
“Given that we just had the worst drought in the last 50 years, lawmakers need to really look at this program and how it’s having the opposite effect of what was intended,” said Craig Cox, vice president of the Environmental Working Group. Water consumption has tripled in the last 50 years, and agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of it. Sign this petition urging Congress to stop funding tax payer subsidies to farmers who abuse the nation’s water tables.
Dear members of Congress,
In 1996, EQUIP was passed to create effective environmentally friendly irrigation practices on American farmlands. Since then, one billion dollars of the EQUIP subsidies have gone nearly unused for these purposes. Subsidy funded equipment has shown to deplete even more water; its clear “better” equipment is not the answer. Water usage has tripled in the last 50 years, while human population has only doubled.
Agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of the nation’s water usage and consumption will only grow as population increases. Shrinking crop yields are a growing problem to due water unavailability in some states, and some farmers have begun experimenting with risky techniques such as dry farming.
The last time farmers ignored water conservation practices a majority of farmland was lost to the dust bowl, and the nation plummeted into poverty. Often taken for granted in established countries, water is the link to all life and cannot be abused; reform the EQUIP bill to conserve the nation’s vastly depleting water supply and stop tax payer funded subsidy abuse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Steven Stawarz