Letter to the Editor

North & South

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dear Editor,

I want to congratulate Claude Cappel on his observation on the recent rumblings from the NRD. I, too, think it is interesting that when the power of the board starts to shift from the big irrigators from the North to the more populated area of the South in the district, it is suddenly time to change the rules on how we elect our board members. This to me is an indication of who they really think the water should be protected for. (And that doesn't include those of us on the South edge of the district.)

I have wondered why towns like Stratton, Trenton, Culbertson, Cambridge and Arapahoe, who have all had to move their wells North of the valley (and spent millions of dollars doing it) have not tried harder to get representation on the board to protect their investments.

McCook should be included in this list also; even though they did not move their well field they had to spend millions to clean up the water they do have.

The Republican River seems to be the main concern of this entire mess, so who better to understand the causes and effects of overuse than those who can look over the river bank in their back yard and see what is really happening on a daily basis? I have looked out my dining room window and watched Swanson Lake dry up and fill up for the past 30 years.

Even though it has not been used for irrigation the past several years it struggles to just maintain itself at a level that makes it difficult to find a boat ramp close enough to the water to launch a boat. If you don't believe me, drive across Macklin Bay bridge and take a look at the current mud hole that used to be one of the best places in the area to launch a boat and enjoy a day on the lake.

The center pivot was one of the finest technological feats in the past century. It allowed farmers to get away from the wasteful runoff of ditch irrigation. It was also a tool for the greedy capitalist to buy cheap land that would barely sustain a cover of grass and create hydroponic systems that deplete the water, and poison what was left with chemicals and fertilizers.

Most of this land was homesteaded in the 1880s; at that time, it was relatively untouched by human hands. Take a good look at it now: we have plowed it up, depleted the water and made a real mess to pass on to the next generations. All of this took place in the span of 125 years. I would hope that there will be something left worth owning 100, 200 or even 500 years from now, but I have my doubts. A dry well on a sand dune is not going to be worth much.

It is time to start thinking about 100 years from now instead of just the next crop year. It is much better to try to prevent a catastrophe than to try and clean it up afterwards. This is not just Kansas' problem, it is OUR problem and it needs to be addressed with honesty, integrity and done NOW!!!

Just my opinion

Paul (Jamie) Forch,


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