California Lawmakers Mull Buying Out Farmers To Save Water

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Some California lawmakers want to use taxpayer money to purchase water rights from farmers. The proposal by Senate Democrats aims to keep more water in California’s rivers and streams to benefit endangered species of fish. Their proposal would set aside about $1.5 billion to buy senior water rights from farmers. These rights allow farmers to take water from rivers and streams to irrigate their crops. Farmers, environmental groups and state regulators often fight over how much water should be left in rivers and streams for environmental purposes. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski says simply buying water rights could avoid some of those fights.