During our 38 minute conversation [13MB MP3], we discussed a few things:
- PVID's Priority 1 water rights (on California's 4.4MAF of Colorado River water), which means PVID farmers can use as much water as they want to irrigate 104,000 acres.
- PVID puts 9 feet of water on its land, but "only" 5AF are consumed. The rest flows back into the Colorado River. (IID's runoff goes into the Salton Sea.)
- Farmers pay about $60/acre for as much water as they want.
- PVID has an important, successful and popular fallowing program, i.e., PVID has fallowed 25 percent of its land so that it can sell its water to Metropolitan (MWDSC) at $620/fallowed acre (roughly $124/AF). (Met paid $3,170/acre to get farmers to sign the fallowing agreement.) More on that program here.
- The fallowing program has not had detrimental impacts on labor, etc. ("third party impacts") -- mostly because many laborers moved to the construction jobs [now gone] in the city.
- PVID is like IID in all ways (Colorado River diverter contracting with the Bureau of Reclamation, etc.) except three:
- PVID's operations are not dominated by a power division
- Fallowing payments go to PVID farmers.
- PVID's Board of Directors is popular with PVID's farmers. Votes at PVID are based on land value, not popular vote.
- Note that Met wants to buy more water (@$275/AF, says Hasencamp), but that price is too low for PVID. Stay tuned....
Bottom Line: PVID provides a good example of how agriculture can maximize the value of its water while simultaneously staying in business.