Water transfers out of the San Joaquin Valley to urban areas in the Bay Area and Southern California are an increasing concern as sales of water rights have occurred recently or are being proposed.
The Modesto Irrigation District (MID) has raised the concerns of Stanislaus County citizens, agricultural advocates and the City of Modesto – MID’s single largest water customer at 30 million gallons a day – as it has proposed selling water to San Francisco. In previous agreements, MID has prioritized water delivery to agriculture and the city before any water transfers outside of the district’s boundaries. Under the new plan, San Francisco would have priority rights.
In return, San Francisco will pay $700 an acre foot in the first sale of 2,240 acre-feet of water per year. This rate would increase annually by three percent. In comparison, MID’s farmers pay $10 an acre foot for their water. A later, and larger, water sale is also being suggested where MID is considering selling an additional 25,000 acre feet of water.
For more information, see the Modesto Bee’s coverage.