Jun 7, 2022
California bill would shift water use from farmers to state

A California state senator is proposing to use $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds to buy water rights from farmers.

By doing so, according to Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, the state could avoid some of the annual battles between it and environmental groups and farmers who have senior water rights. Those rights allow them to pull irrigation water from rivers and streams. Wieckowski introduced the legislation, arguing that if farmers voluntarily sold their water rights, the water would stay in rivers, alleviating concerns over the diversion of water and the effect on endangered fish.

A long drought has pushed municipal and agricultural water issues in California into a critical stage. The state enacted water restrictions, including lawn watering schedules, on June 1.


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