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Geography - Essay Example

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The western state of Oregon, to go along with four Southwestern states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico has similar climatic and geographic conditions. All these states are arid to semi-arid in climatic conditions, which makes the distribution of water among its…
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Download file to see previous pages In the video titled Oregon: A Fight for Water (which is part of Regions and Economies section of the series), all facts pertaining to the initial problem are presented. Eastern Oregon is separated from the lush and fertile Pacific coast by a mountain range. Often called simply as the Coast Range, this geographical feature is the key to many of the climatic, hydrographic and vegetation patterns of the region. The Coast Range acts as a barrier between the two sides and blocks water-bearing clouds from reaching the eastern side, which is why the Pacific coast side is lush in vegetation and abundant in water, whereas the rest of the state is semi-arid and heavily dependent on the water provided by the Umatilla River. Hence there is competition between different communities to get access to the scarce water resource that the Umatilla provides. It is as a way of finding solution to this scarcity that dams were built along its course. The water stored by the dam was diverted through irrigation canals to the various circular agricultural fields that dot the landscape of the riverbank. While agriculture (especially high-grade potato farming) has benefitted from this arrangement, the indigenous tribes who live further downstream are adversely affected. For Native American tribes, water holds a meaning far beyond its everyday utility. And hence, negotiating with them on practical terms is not fair on part of the State. Moreover, the Salmon that travels upstream to spawn in the upper reaches of the Umatilla is also severely affected by the raising of the dam.
A similar conflict exists in the California-Nevada border, with each group making claims on the limited water resource provided by the Truckee River Basin. To supply water to the growing population in the Reno-Sparks area, dams have to be constructed. But this has disturbed the natural habitat of cui-ui fish, which is considered sacred by a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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