A group of farmers, mostly from Madera, protested on the steps of the capitol in Sacramento against what they feel has been extreme mismanagement of the state’s water resources.
The protest comes as groundwater managers in the Madera subbasin are wrestling with how to adhere to a state mandate to bring its aquifer back into balance after growers soundly rejected a measure that would have instituted pumping fees. A large portion of farmland in Madera isn’t covered by irrigation districts, which have taxed landowners for decades and used that money to buy water.
Farmers outside of districts have never had to pay those fees, relying almost exclusively on groundwater. But that may change under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.