What if the food you bought at the store cost significantly more than today? Imagine Joe, a farm worker in Washington. Now imagine Joe's farm shuts down because the environmentalists took down the dams leaving the farm without affordable transportation, water and electricity. Joe ends up on the streets, hungry, and unable to find a job because he doesn't have adequate education or training available to him. Farmers deserve water rights over the Columbia River because without them, the price of food will go up, people will go hungry, there will be fewer jobs. .
Without Columbia River water rights, the price of food will go up because we won't be able to transport goods as cheaply and efficiently as on the barges. "A bushel of wheat travels more efficiently and more cheaply on the Columbia-Snake System than on any river, highway, or railroad in the nation."(Harden 31) Also without Columbia River Water rights, irrigation water will cost more because there will be less water available to sustain a healthy farm."When I traveled on the river, it cost just nineteen cents a bushel to send wheat from Idaho to Portland by barge. By train, it cost at least a dime more per bushel." (Harden 55) This fifty percent increase in costs would drive up the price of food for consumers, which leads me to my next point.
Washington state plays an important role in providing food for the entire country. We have a responsibility to provide affordable food to keep the country out of hunger and poverty. The Columbia River water rights enable this. In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. Washington State plays a key role in providing affordable food to an already hungry population. For example, 70% of the apples produced in the US come from Washington. 8-10% of the wheat in the US comes from Washington. In addition to the cost savings of transporting food on the Columbia river, farmers are able to keep food costs as low as they are thanks to the cheap electricity and water provided by the dams.