California farmers propose voluntary cuts

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are proposing voluntarily cutting their water use to avoid even harsher restrictions later this summer as the state's record drought continues.

Under the deal expected to be presented to state officials Wednesday, farmers would either take less river water for irrigation or leave a quarter of their crops unplanted.

If the state accepts the deal, it could become a model for farmers throughout California, who also are facing deep cutbacks.

Jennifer Spaletta, an attorney for several Delta farmers, says the deal would help farmer plan the year with more certainty.

Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered communities throughout the state to reduce water use by 25 percent.

The state water board's executive director has to approve the deal before it is final.