By Erik Hansen | The Fresno Bee

Valley farmers like Joe Del Bosque, whose situation was spotlighted recently in the Los Angeles Times, was begging for and buying water during last year’s drought at $1,000 to $1,300 per acre-foot after federal water officials failed to make good on water allocation contracts.

These farmers thought themselves lucky to find willing sellers. But now it looks like their luck will run out courtesy of their perennial but faithless friend and occasional foe, the federal government.

When water is plentiful, hundreds of farmers buy water from the Central Valley Project, a federal water supplier, at $220 per acre-foot. During the drought, though, thousands of California farmers had to shop from water districts up and down the state. It was a sellers’ market.

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