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The Colorado River Water Shortage's Impact on the West and Southwest

The Colorado River Water shortage has escalated to a tipping point in the West and Southwest, where actions must be taken before we run out of water. This morning a sequence of published journals have once again alerted us to the water crisis in the agriculture sector.

Please take a few minutes to read this article published by the The New York Times on Monday, “A Breakthrough Deal to Keep the Colorado River From Going Dry, for Now”. The new agreement to cut water usage will likely lead to significant fallowing of farmland in the west.

To see what happens with fallowed farmland, read this article by The Colorado Sun, “One Colorado river basin has been drying for years. It’s changing a way of life.” Our heart goes out to all affected by these policies.

As a producer, we, at Oatman Farms, strongly believe the regenerative agriculture practice can have the potential to help conserve water and rebuild a small water cycle within each watershed. Here’s a before photo of when our farmland was fallowed, and after, when we transitioned to regenerative organic practices.


Oatman Farms before regenerative organic practices
Oatman Farms after regenerative organic practices

We were able to conserve millions of gallons of water each year by transitioning to grow low water consuming crops, such as heritage wheat, compared to growing commodity like alfalfa.

Practices such as cover cropping and minimizing soil disturbance have also helped increase the amount and duration of water our soil can retain as well as prevented topsoil loss from several major erosion events. In addition, these practices maintain long lasting living roots in our soil to promote soil biology that turns soil nutrient into plant nutrient density that feeds both human health and ecosystem health at the same time.

We still need to produce healthy and nutritious food in the West and Southwest for people to consume but we need consumers to vote with their wallets so more producers can grow consciously and help combat the water crisis with appropriate practices. If you would like to learn more and support regenerative organic agriculture practices, please visit