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Who needs rice when you can grow money on water?

Posted by feww on March 19, 2015

N. California Farmers Skip Planting to Sell Water To LA at $700 Per Acre Foot

Northern California farmers are leaving their fields fallow this year to cash in on their water rights at  $700 per acre foot, said a report.

[An acre-foot is about 1,233.5 cubic meters. —Editor.]

They’re selling their rights to Los Angeles County at a new price that is twice what southern California authorities paid for their water in 2010.

In 2014, rice farmers received $500 per acre foot of water. This year the stakes are even higher because water replaces rice as their cash crop.

“We’re going to make a lot more selling the water than planting the rice,” a farmer north of Sacramento told NBC News. “This is a huge deal.”

Some farmers are concerned that the water may simply be taken away from them.

“In the long term, if we don’t make it available we’re afraid they’ll just take it,” said a fourth generation rice farmer with senior rights to Yuba River water, said the report.

“It’s much more than we ever expected to get. But at the same time, that just shows the desperation of the people that need it,” he said.

He and his fellow farmers are selling 20 percent of their allotment to Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Water District, which provides water from Los Angeles to San Diego County.

California experienced its driest January in recorded history (record-keeping began in 1895), as groundwater and snowpack levels fell to record lows.

A state of emergency proclaimed by Gov. Brown in January remains in effect, as Califonia enters its fourth year of severe drought.

Meantime, the Governor and other senior state officials were expected to announce Emergency Drought Legislation later Thursday, March 19, 2015.

“Taking action to further strengthen water conservation in the state, the State Water Resources Control Board yesterday voted to expand and extend an emergency regulation to prohibit certain water use, such as washing down sidewalks, and create a minimum standard for outdoor irrigation restrictions by urban water suppliers,” said the governor’s office.

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