Transcript for The Great Web of Water, segment 06 of 12

Cecille Cramer, whose grandfather was an irrigation pioneer, tells the story.

My mother tells of him saying as they would drive along with the horse team, someday they'll find a crop that will grow here. Someday they'll find a crop. And now I've lived long enough to see that come true. South of Willows there are rice fields, and they're very, very productive. The soil has improved, and now they can even rotate to other crops. West of Willows had always been dry farming. As soon as the water came from that TC Canal to that Kanawha Irrigation District, I couldn't believe the change that came over that area, just overnight. There was corn twelve, fifteen feet high. There were sugar beets, onion seed. We were seeing sunflower seeds. Last year they had some of the most beautiful sunflowers I've ever seen in my life. The whole pattern of cropping changed, and the farming became so intensified and the way of life has changed.

That changed lifestyle includes seeding rice from the air. It also includes a future for new generations and wealth for the nation. Stacy Hanson and his father, Keith Hanson.

That'll do it.

Without that water on this land there is no future for my generation or generations after that.

We take this water and we turn that into wealth that's spread throughout the United States for everyone's benefit.

The Sacramento Valley is the world's leading grower of medium grain rice, an important factor in this country's international balance of payments. The water used here is used again and again in as many ways as a farmer can devise to win his annual gamble with nature.


Humans aren't the only water customers. The Pacific Flyway passes over the valley. Eight national refugees grow food to lure millions of birds away from the farmer's cash crops.


The Open Video Project is managed at the Interaction Design Laboratory,
at the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill