From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

Will We Ever Get Sane About Water?

Coalition response…California farmers grow more than 400 different crops and contrary to the information presented at the conference, most of the crops are not subsidized. These farmers provide a healthy and affordable supply of food items that stock local grocery store shelves and feeds people around the world.

People need to understand that the only subsidy applied to California’s water supply is the interest fees on the construction of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) over 60 years ago. When Congress authorized the construction costs for Shasta Dam and the other reservoirs and miles of canals to deliver water to where it could be used beneficially, the decision was made that the water users would repay all the costs except the interest charges. This has proven to be a wise decision with billions of dollars in crops produced from the lands that receive CVP water.

The California State Water Project (SWP) was built later and state officials decided to include the interest costs. The decision was also made to require those receiving water to pay the full contract costs each year regardless of how much water is delivered. In 1990, farmers received zero percent of their SWP water supply. That means they paid 100 percent of their contract costs but received no water.

California farmers are striving to provide a food supply that stretches around the world. Increasing their costs could jeopardize that supply.

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