Environment & Science

Southern California water agencies look north for water sale

File: Water is held back from a lower-elevation farm (R) by a section of Highway 4 that serves as a levee road in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, west of Stockton.
File: Water is held back from a lower-elevation farm (R) by a section of Highway 4 that serves as a levee road in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, west of Stockton.
David McNew/Getty Images

The drought has water agencies in Southern California offering big bucks for water belonging to Northern California rice farmers.

The Sacramento Bee reports Saturday that the Los Angeles-area Metropolitan Water District and other agencies will be buying up to $71 million in water from Sacramento Valley farmers. That's enough to supply more 100,000 households for a year.

The Metropolitan agency serves 19 million Californians. Four years of California drought have made water scarcer. The Southern California water agencies are offering northern farmers more for their water than they would get if they used it to grow crops.

Sandi Matsumoto of the Nature Conservancy said Saturday migratory birds depend on Sacramento Valley rice land for habitat in the drought. Matsumoto says she hopes the impact on them will be considered.