Saturday, 20 October 2007

Thoughts from Utah

I have spent the last two weeks in Utah, studying water issues and how they relate to development. It has been interesting for me that so many of the issues that we face in the UK are the same here, such as growing urban population, less emphasis on agriculture and the need to produce food and agricultural products, and growth of amenity and tourism activities to support the leisure time of the urban population. Universally, food production seems to be of less and less importance - is this a critical policy mistake? Land prices close to urban areas for land sold for development makes the returns for agricultural production non-viable and many family farms are realising the asset value of their land. In Utah 80% of the water utilised goes into agriculture compared to around 3% in the UK and the demand for water for urban development potentially impinges even more on agricultural production here. There is an old western saying "You can steal my horse, even take my wife, but don't touch my water!" - food for thought I think.

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