Water Allocations Impacting Local Rice Farmers

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SACRAMENTO —

California Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus says she expects criticism when the board issues new emergency water use regulations on Saturday.  But she also said tough decisions have to be made.

Marcus told FOX40 News that the Governor’s decision not to impose mandatory water restrictions on growers is justified because they have taken great strides to conserve water, unlike many urban communities.

”Agriculture has taken the brunt of it. The urbans have been largely shielded,”said Marcus.

Sacramento Valley rice growers, who will see more water cutbacks during the coming planting season, say their use of water has been misunderstood.  Grower Don Bransford says his water us used multiple times.

“We not only use it to grow food, but we provide habitat for water fowl and all the water is released into the Sacramento River. It’s used downstream, some in Sacramento for drinking water,” said Bransford.

Marcus said additional savings requirements for urban water districts will be tiered after hearing complaints that those who conserve should get a break.

“Those communities who use less will have a lower target they have to meet than those who have conserved less. It only makes sense. Those people who use the most will have a bigger opportunity to cut back. We want to try and make it effective, but also make it as fair as we can,” said Marcus.

When the new regulations are released, probably on Saturday, Marcus expects to get more criticism.  She says she’ll continue to listen to all comments in order to try to make the regulations fair.

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