09/21/2019

California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers

State regulators proposed sweeping changes in the allocation of California’s water Friday, leaving more water in Northern California’s major rivers to help ailing fish populations — and giving less to farming and human consumption.

By limiting water sent to cities and farms and keeping more for fish, the proposal by the State Water Resources Control Board’s staff likely will ignite a round of lawsuits and political squabbles. Critics immediately pounced on the plan, saying it will take some of the nation’s most fertile farmland out of production and harm the Central Valley economy.

But the state board said more water must be devoted to fish to prevent environmental disaster. Several major species of fish are nearing extinction, and increasing river flows will help them survive, the board said.

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