Sacramento Valley hit hard by water cuts

Sacramento Valley
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The Sacramento Valley is 450 miles long and has in wetter times been called “America’s Breadbasket.” Produce grown there includes tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, asparagus, and garlic.

What those crops have in common is that they need water.

Paper water rights are worthless when reservoir levels shrink, leading to cuts in water deliveries.

A story reported by the non-profit news organization, CalMattersOpens in a new tab., paints the gloomy picture of what is happening to growers, ranchers and wildlife sanctuaries in the Sacramento Valley. High dollar acreage that came with federally managed water rights from Lake ShastaOpens in a new tab. are losing their value because water is not available, leading landowners to question whether they can stay in business into next year.

Lake Shasta is critically low this year. CNN reports that Shasta Lake’s water levels are now less than half of historical average. “According to the US Bureau of Reclamation, only agriculture customers who are senior water right holders and some irrigation districts in the Eastern San Joaquin Valley will receive the Central Valley Project water deliveries this year,” the news agency writes.¬† This could translate into over 350,000 acres of farmland in the Sacramento Valley fallowed this year.

Image Source:

Wikimedia CommonsOpens in a new tab., Don Graham, August 2010.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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