We reported recently on a new study by California Water Research Associates showing that 100,000 acres of land retired by Westlands Water District is not going to come back into irrigated production, no matter HOW much water Westlands gets.
New evidence of this is contained in the district’s agricultural lease.
Westlands owns essentially all of the retired land and is managing it. They are leasing the land to back to growers who are willing to try farming the impaired land. According to the master agricultural lease , these growers are ineligible to apply for any of Westlands’ CVP supply. They must irrigate using available groundwater or water they obtain in some other way.
Notes California Water Research Associates’ Deirdre Des Jardins, “It makes economic and environmental sense, since the land is impaired by salt, poor drainage, and toxic trace minerals, but they also need to mitigate for impacts on local communities and third parties, such as Mendota, Firebaugh, Huron, etc.”
For sure they need to quit crying that pumping restrictions have been the reason for fallowing lands and instead focus on their own soil and drainage problems.
Just a short time ago, the Pacific Legal Foundation announced that they have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the Federal Government’s Delta smelt regulations. In their press release, they now claim that 200,000 acres of land have been fallowed as a result of Delta protections. Maybe they should go back and read the leases?