Oregon, Idaho, and Washington Researchers Band Together Against Regional Challenges

Jun 7, 2017

A tri-state collaboration aims to tackle energy, water, and food issues across the Pacific Northwest.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the long-term goal is to improve regional economies as well as human and environmental health. 

Idaho landscape.
Credit Martin van Duijn / Flickr.com

Natural resource scientists from Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Idaho began jointly exploring challenges like water conservation, energy development, and food security in April.

OSU’s role is being spearheaded by agricultural engineering professor Chad Higgins.  He says one immediate challenge is irrigation.

Credit AgriLife Today / Flickr.com

“That water’s allocated in different ways across those three states, because each state has its own water law," says Higgins. 

"But there’s also competing uses for that water which include energy production and actual water consumption.  Of course, we have to maintain environmental flows to keep the fish alive. But there’s continuing pressure on agriculturalists to make sure we have enough food. 

"That sorta pressures them at both ends of the pipe.” 

Higgins adds it’s important to know that what may work for one state may not for another.  Or may even cause problems for that other state.  He says the next meeting will take place in Hermiston, Oregon in August.  

Copyright 2017, KLCC.