Under the state Constitution, the water belongs to the people of California. But the federal government sells it for a small fraction of its market value to irrigation districts, which distribute the great majority of it to large corporate farms, many of which are growing rice and cotton that are also subsidized. The government recently renewed the contracts of most CVP districts for the next 25 years, promising them even more water that they can turn around and sell to MWD or other urban suppliers. It's a taxpayer ripoff that does nothing to encourage conservation and contributes to the massive environmental damage that accompanies irrigated agriculture. For more, see our Water Subsidies Database at http://archive.ewg.org/reports/ Watersubsidies/.
Vice President/West Coast
Environmental Working Group