Water is the most important critical material needed for growing food. Orchards takes millions of gallons of water for each farm. The quality must be good enough to not contaminate the crops with deadly bacteria. Livestock need large amounts of fresh water as well. No water means no food.
this image shows a dam and irrigation channel being built, this kind of irrigation infrastructure must be built by society and is beyond what small urban farmers can develop on their own, taken from KPU study already referenced
Does urban farming deserve the water or should it go for housing developments or golf courses or fracking natural gas? These are the kinds of decisions we may have to make soon. The economics of each kind of activity needs to be carefully analyzed and compared. Please include the cost of cleaning up pollution in any economic analysis.
Growing the vegetables we eat turns out to be a fantastic engine of economic growth and development. Urban farms do not increase public debt the way mega-projects do. All this economic development depends on having enough potable water (no bacteria contamination).
Are we going to give the young urban farmers the support that is needed? They can help us build food security and help moderate the surging prices of imported vegetables. Water is the key. Can we use water to unlock the huge economic potential of small urban farms?
Most things done on the farm are left up to the individual growers. Water is different since irrigation requires huge investments for infrastructure that are beyond the means of most farmers. Society needs to understand that water is a common resource. That is how it is viewed in Canadian federal and provincial laws. You cannot impede the flow of water to downstream users and you cannot diminish the flow or the quality of water. Who monitors this? Who is responsible for compliance? These are issues for another time. Today it is enough that consumers know how precious clean water is, that farmers need huge volumes to produce food and that society is coming to a point where water will be rationed for priority uses.
Can we decide as a society that small young urban farmers growing vegetables for direct sale to consumers are important? Could this be the next great place to invest – urban farmers?