Kudos to Mike McInally for his Sunday editorial addressing the population growth projected for the mid-Willamette Valley. Can/should such growth be controlled?

To begin, let’s focus on one factor causing the migration ... almonds; well, actually, with the water needed to raise almonds.

Much of the Southwest is running out of water. Not only are families moving to Oregon because of water, but California almond farmers, who use about 11 percent of that state’s agricultural water, are already buying tracts of land in Oregon. It takes one gallon of water to grow one almond.

During 2016 the Corvallis water system delivered about 2.76 billion gallons of drinking water to 60,000 residents; about 46,000 gallons of water per resident; or 46,000 almonds. The 15,000 students that Oregon State University unilaterally decided to add, for its own questionable reasons, consume about 700 million gallons of drinking water. That’s a lot of almonds.

“Progress,” as championed by many City Hall and OSU administrators, some more concerned with personal legacy than community good, will continue to dominate city policy. One means of controlling “growth and progress” is to set aside land for conservation.

There’s only so much water, folks. I urge citizens is to contribute both money and energy to the Greenbelt Land Trust, which has earned our trust and thanks. The more land we can put into conservation in and around Corvallis, and unavailable to developers, the greater the chance we can “preserve the quality of life … that draws people to this region,” as McInally eloquently noted.

Michael Coolen

Corvallis (Sept. 4)

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