Southern California Desert Farmers Will Earn Millions to Fallow Fields, Save Colorado River Water

California farmers near the Arizona border with the oldest rights to Colorado River water will reap $38 million over three years to not plant some of their fields and leave extra water in the rapidly declining Lake Mead reservoir.

Located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix, growers near the City of Blythe in Riverside County have first priority to the river water. They hold rights that stretch back to 1877, superseding 40 million customers in eight states who also depend on it.