Business Journal: Water Bank Faces Obstacles

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 12, 2008
A plan to set up a water bank for next year faces an uphill battle in a state accustomed to pumping water up hills. The state Department of Water Resources has announced the creation of a 2009 Drought Water Bank. The state wants to buy water from irrigation districts north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and sell it to thirsty cities and farmers in Southern California.
Even state officials admit the plan has some big obstacles. If the state doesn’t get enough rain and snow this winter, there won’t be enough water to sell. Plus, water managers must contend with court-ordered pumping restrictions that protect a threatened Delta fish species. And some irrigation districts might not be interested in selling because current high crop prices make growing crops more profitable than selling water. Buyers have a deadline of Oct. 15 to enter the water bank.