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Brown Says Senior Water Rights May Be Reviewed

  

California Governor Jerry Brown appeared on ABC's "This Week" program Sunday to defend his order of mandatory water cutbacks statewide -- cutbacks that don't restrict farmers.

Brown said farmers have already been denied irrigation water from federal surface supplies, and they've had to leave hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted.

"Of course we could shut if off," said Brown. "If you don't want to produce any food and import it from some other place, theoretically you could do that. But that would displace hundreds of thousands of people and I don't think it's needed."

Brown pointed out, there are farmers with "senior" water rights.

"Some people have a right to more water than others," said Brown. "That's historic, that's built into the legal framework of California. And yes, if things continue at this level that's probably going to be examined."

Last week, Brown ordered the restrictions of 25 percent statewide compared with water use in 2013 as California endures a fourth year of drought. Brown says California's agricultural industry make up less than two percent of the state's economy, but the state grows most of the country's fruits and vegetables. He says many farm workers are going without work.

Brown's order comes as the mountain snowpack amounts to just five percent of historical average, the lowest in 65 years of records.