VIDEO: Groundwater pumping limits pitting “farmer against farmer” in some areas

January 10, 2022
Jesse Vad, SJV Water
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
Madera County farmer Stuart Weil, top, argues that pumping limits for growers outside of irrigation districts give other farmers an unfair advantage. Fellow Madera area farmer Kole Upton, bottom, says district farmers have paid assessments and other costs to bring in surface water for years specifically to replenish groundwater while out-of-district farmers haven't paid those fees. VIDEO SCREENSHOTS.
Jesse Vad, SJV Water
Jesse Vad, SJV Water

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Madera County, which acts as a groundwater sustainability agency for farmlands outside of irrigation district boundaries, was the first agency in California to institute groundwater pumping limits.

Meanwhile, area irrigation districts haven’t implemented pumping restrictions.

That has created what one farmer called an unfair advantage. But there are arguments on the other side that farmers in irrigation districts have paid fees and other costs for years that non-districted farmers haven’t.

This is just one of the difficult issues farmers now face as California’s groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, edges closer to full implementation in 2040.

Jesse Vad, SJV Water

SJV Water is an independent, nonprofit news site dedicated to covering water in the San Joaquin Valley. Get inside access to SJV Water by becoming a member.


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