Empty Fields Fill Urban Basins and Farmers Pockets - NY Times, October 24, 2011

October 26, 2011

California farmers share water - the challenges and benefits.

Three generations of Al Kalin’s family have worked their 2,000 acres of carrots and sugar beets, wheat and alfalfa for almost a century in the Imperial Valley, a scorching swath of Southern California desert that was unfit for farming until water from the Colorado River was diverted here in 1901. 

But now Mr. Kalin and his brother can continue to farm their land, or they can stop farming some of it and earn more than $500 an acre -- more than the market value of a crop like alfalfa -- simply by not using the water needed to nourish those crops. Water saved is sent on to thirsty cities and suburbs to the west: San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.