SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A group of California farmers, in a surprising turnaround, is volunteering to give up a fourth of its available water this year, sharing a resource all but guaranteed to them for more than a century. A senior water official said he would decide whether to accept the offer by Friday. The concession by farmers in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta could be one of the most important yet forced by California’s record four-year drought. In exchange for taking 25 percent less river water for irrigation or leaving a quarter of their fields unplanted, the farmers want guarantees that the state won’t restrict the remaining 75 percent of the water they’ve had rights to for more than a century, even if the drought deepens. The offer was made as “senior water rights holders” face a threat of being included in the mandatory cutbacks that apply to most other California water users.
Story, photos by Associated Press