Farm vs. City: California Landmark Water-Sharing Deal May Be Crumbling

One of the nation’s most successful partnerships between farm and urban water agencies has lately run into serious turbulence, potentially threatening an important Colorado River water-sharing deal. Twelve years ago, the Palo Verde Irrigation District in Blythe, California, signed an agreement with the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It allowed the latter to pay Palo Verde farmers to fallow up to 35 percent of their acreage in times of water scarcity, and take delivery of the unused irrigation water, via canal, to serve its urban customers in the Los Angeles area, some 200 miles away.