Citrus farmers in the southeast corner of Louisiana are working frantically to protect and save their crops from salt water. A mass flow of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico continues to creep up the Mississippi River, not just threatening water used for drinking, cooking, but agriculture as well.
The number of commercial citrus growers has gone down over the past few decades in south Louisiana, where farmers have had to battle hurricanes, flooding, invasive insects, freezes and drought to keep their groves alive.
The latest hurdle comes from a slow-moving threat — a mass influx of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico that is creeping up the Mississippi River. Not only is the saltwater intrusion threatening drinking water supplies for communities, but it can also kill citrus seedlings.
That is why farmers are brainstorming about other ways to irrigate their crops with fresh water, including storing the little rain water they’ve gotten this summer, hauling in fresh water and establishing makeshift salination treatment facilities.