Friday, September 18, 2015

Westlands Drainage Settlement Assailed by Critics

The Westlands Water District and the Obama administration signed an agreement Wednesday to settle a long-running dispute over the drainage of tainted water from salt-laden farmland in California’s largest and richest irrigation district. The settlement relieves the federal government of providing drainage service that it promised to the district when the Central Valley Project began providing water to the 600,000 acre farming region in the 1960’s. Westlands farmers sued the government in 2000, alleging a breach of contract. The settlement must be approved by Congress and signed by the President by 2017. Critics of the deal say it represents a win for Westlands farmers and a loss for taxpayers and the environment. Pacifica’s Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.