California Rancher Selling His Water Through Newspaper’s Classified Section

MODESTO (CBS13) — A Central Valley rancher is advertising his water for sale in a newspaper’s classified section.

Under the farming equipment section, you’ll find Grover Francis’ ad. For 49 years, Francis raised cattle and grew pasture, but he decided to rip out his farm to plant almond trees.

“They only take a third as much water,” he said.

Since he won’t plant his trees until December, he won’t need his 40 inches of water allocated from the Oakdale Irrigation District. He placed an ad in the Modesto Bee classifieds.

“It’s hard to get the word out. Most farmers when they pick up the paper, they’ll look under farm equipment,” he said.

He can only sell his water to farmers within the district. He’s not the only one selling, but the district says he’s the only one with an ad in the paper.

“One acre-foot is what it takes to cover one acre in 12 inches of water,” he said.

Francis has 260 acre-feet for sale. he said he hasn’t had any calls yet, but he expects the demand for water to increase.

“As we get farther through the season, they will run out,” he said.

He says the deal is only good for this year, because he’ll need the water for his almond trees next year.

If Francis does find a farmer to sell to, both parties have 15 days to fill out applications with the Irrigation District in order to transfer that water on time.

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