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Western New York Irrigation

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The Erie Canal is much more than just a waterway. It supplies drinking water in the Mohawk Valley, and helps keep several top-notch golf courses green. And it’s an important source of water for farmers irrigating their fields in western New York.

Without irrigation, farmers have a harder time growing high-value crops, such as apples, berries, and vegetables. If cropland irrigated with canal water was increased from the current level of about 7,500 acres to 12,500 acres, annual agricultural revenues in the region could increase more than $25 million annually. More irrigation can also enable farmers to earn greater yields from existing farmland.

This proposal envisions a western New York irrigation district that would provide grants to support the installation by farmers of new irrigation infrastructure and the development of a water management plan that ensures water remains available to farmers in the future.

About 20 percent of New York’s land is devoted to farming. As more crops grow on that land, so does the economy. How about them apples?

TeamBack to Top

• Dr. Stephen Shaw, SUNY ESF
• C&S Engineers Inc.
• Cornell Cooperative Extension

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