The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently denied the Government’s motion to dismiss California farmers’ claim that their farmland had been taken by the Government’s failure to build a statutorily required drain to remove salts from their land. Located within the Westlands Water District, these agricultural lands are irrigated by water from the Central Valley Project that picks up and concentrates naturally occurring salts (such as salinium) that eventually make the land unusable. The farmers have obtained several court orders requiring Reclamation to build the drain, but it has not been constructed yet.
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