State water officials have softened their approach to telling thousands of California farmers to stop pumping from rivers to irrigate their crops amid drought.
The state water board on Wednesday sent revised letters to 4,600 water users — many farmers — previously told to stop pumping due to a lack of water. The initial letters went out earlier this year as California rivers dry up in a fourth drought year.
A Sacramento County judge on Friday ruled that the initial letters violated some the farmers' due process.
State water board attorney David Rose says that after the ruling the state revised its letter, removing mandatory-sounding language.
He says the intent is the same; farmers shouldn't be surprised if they receive stiff penalties for using water they don't have rights to pump.