The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has proposed a deal in which it would pay farmers in the Palo Verde Irrigation District to fallow farmland as a way to transfer 25,000 to 111,000 acre-feet of water per year.
In any given year, according to the proposal, the PVID would have 7 to 25 percent of its normally irrigated land fallowed. This is not the first time MWD has implemented such a setup in the Palo Verde Valley.
MWD and PVID can strike any kind of arrangement they wish, as long as it does not affect the Imperial Irrigation District. We have said time and time again we are against paying farmers to fallow their farmland. Period. Yes, we understand some fallowing is done every year as part of the natural process of farming, but that does not add up to permanent fallowing or being paid for not farming.
We also understand that water is in short supply, particularly as California has to shrink its water use to 4.4 million acre-feet per year as part of the California Colorado River Use Plan. IID has had an active role in the plan to reduce the state's water use. However, we will continue to speak out against any plan that would call for fallowing for profit, and this Palo Verde Valley idea might be one more way for some of our farmers to say how hunky-dory fallowing could be for us, too.