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  1. #1
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Calif. farmers would rather sell their water than grow

    Decreases the demand for illegal labor too doesn't it?

    Calif. farmers would rather sell their water than grow
    Associated Press
    Jan. 25, 2008 02:52 PM

    FRESNO, Calif. - With water becoming increasingly precious in California, a rising number of farmers figure they can make more money by selling their water than by actually growing something.

    Because farmers get their water at subsidized rates, some of them see financial opportunity this year in selling their allotments to Los Angeles and other desperately thirsty cities across Southern California, as well as to other farms.

    "It just makes dollars and sense right now," said Bruce Rolen, a third-generation farmer who grows rice, wheat and other crops in Northern California's lush Sacramento Valley.

    Instead of sowing in April, Rolen plans to let 100 of his 250 acres of white rice lie fallow and sell his irrigation water on the open market, where it could fetch up to three times the normal price.

    What effect these deals will have on produce prices remains to be seen, because the negotiations are still going on and it is not yet clear how many acres will be taken out of production. But California grows most of the nation's winter vegetables and about 80 percent of the world's almonds, and is the No. 2 rice state, behind Arkansas.

    Environmental restrictions, booming demand for water, and persistent drought along the Colorado River have combined to create one of the worst water shortages in California in the past decade, and prices are shooting up in response.

    The would-be water sellers include farmers who grow rice, cantaloupes and tomatoes around Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley. Rice, in particular, requires a lot of water; the fields have to be flooded.

    The farmers looking to buy water are generally farther south in the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area and grow such crops as pistachios, almonds and grapes. Because of the heavy capital investment they made in their trees and vines, these farmers cannot afford to stop irrigating their crops and let them die. In contrast, melons and tomatoes are planted anew each year.

    Individual farmers don't actually sell their water themselves. Instead, their local water districts represent them in negotiations with other water agencies.

    "It's been a good decade since there's been this much interest in buying and selling water on the open market," said Jack King of the California Farm Bureau Federation. "We're prepared to see significant fallowing in several key parts of the state."

    As for what this will mean for the cost of food at the supermarket, "it's still too premature to say where prices will settle, but I can say that virtually every agricultural district in the Sacramento Valley is thinking about selling their water this year," said Laura King Moon, assistant general manager of the State Water Contractors Association, which represents 29 water agencies.

    Water from Northern California rivers irrigates central California's farm fields and keeps faucets flowing in the Los Angeles area. But it must be shipped south through a network of pumps, pipes and aqueducts, and that system recently developed a kink when a federal judge ordered new restrictions on pumping to save threatened fish.

    At the same time, Southern California's other main source of water, the Colorado River, is in its eighth year of drought.

    Because of the resulting shortages, Long Beach cannot run fountains, and restaurants there are not allowed to serve customers a glass of water unless they ask for it. Near Bakersfield, in central California, almond and pistachio growers will have to perform triage of sorts and decide which of their nut trees can be saved. And cities across California are drawing down underground supplies of water rather than buying it.

    Water on California's open market typically sells for $50 per acre-foot in wet years. But now it is expected to go for as much as $200. Farmers, however, pay $30 to $60, rates that are set under state and federal policy. (An acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre to a depth of one foot.)

    Because of rising costs, the huge water agency for the Los Angeles metropolitan recently proposed a rate increase for next year of 10 to 20 percent on the water it sells to cities.

    Some environmentalists are troubled by farmers' efforts to sell their water, and warn that such deals don't begin to address the long-term problem.

    "Essentially these farmers are getting water for a subsidized price and selling it to taxpayers at an elevated rate," said Renee Sharp of the Environmental Working Group. ... 25-ON.html

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    So mabey some of those illegal Jose's won't be needed out in the fields pickin' crops and doing jobs us lazy Americans won't do. Unless I missed something and now we're going to need imigrants to harvest and bottle the water!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    awwwww come on, you know us lazy americans, we need them to do exactly that

    You think the farmers are going to pay a living wage to an American after all this basically "free labor" they have been enjoying?

    I don't know if u saw the article posted about a Cali farmer who moved across the border. When here his workers made a tiny bit more, but worked harder. Down there they work slower and are paid a tad less.

    Was it a good deal for him? Time will tell I guess. I think a few others suggested doing the same.

    Personally adios amigos. But our gov better not be funding this in any part, nor giving any advantages to those that do so.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NOamNASTY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thats good and dandy ! When they are sucking mud out of their faucets, they may regret it .

    I'm begining to believe bush that Americans won't work anymore .

    We are spoiled rotten .

    google low water and nuke power plants . Some are closing down because of low river and lake levels . So power is aout to go sky high in some areas because they will have to bu it elsewhere .

    Our springs are being drained for bottled watet that I refues to buy again . Most of the water is sold to nations like China and Arabs ,I head 70% is exported , the one thing we don't need to export . When we travel we tke a jug of our water with us .

    They say that soon water will be worth more than gold . And although we can use desaltification of our oceans, it is very exspensive process .

    So much to do so little help to do it . Hay in the southern states becaue of draught is getting to be exspensive because it has to be hauled in .

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