Calif. farmers face off on new delta water system

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA | November 4, 2011 | 3:05 AM EDT

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California farmers are split over proposals to send more water from Northern California to the state's southern regions.

Two-thirds of Californians rely on water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and farmers rely on it to cultivate 4 million acres.

But the decline of fish species has triggered regulations that limited pumping in recent years. So farmers and urban water users south of the delta have rallied around plans for a new canal or tunnel. They say the new system would capture and divert river water around the delta to ensure an adequate supply.

Delta farmers argue the plans would primarily benefit water districts. They fear diverting more water could ruin their farms and hurt the ailing delta.

Officials hope to agree to a plan by June.