HOW BC HELPS WASHINGTON GROWERS
British Columbia’s apple growers point to a bitter irony in their competition with Washington state apple producers.
In 1964, Canada and the U.S. ratified a treaty to manage the Columbia River — the Pacific Northwest’s largest river which flows through B.C., Washington and Oregon on the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Over the next decade, three dams were built in B.C. and one in Montana to help with flood control and hydropower generation. B.C. is entitled to a share in the benefits of the increased power production in the U.S., an entitlement worth about $120 million a year.
But the current provincial government has acknowledged pre-treaty consultations with local communities and First Nations were “inadequate to non-existent by today’s standards.”
The treaty led to the flooding of fertile farmland in B.C. On the other side of the border, in Washington state, it brought a stable supply of water that could be used to irrigate vast swaths of agricultural land, including apple-producing areas.