Yes, if you know how much you divert by the month or week, you can take it to the bank. Literally, if you have good numbers, it can make the difference between getting the operating or improvement loan you want, or working harder to get a lesser amount. Your water right is a resource, just like the land, equipment, seed, feed, livestock, or anything else. The better proof you have on just how much of that resource, in this case your diversion, that you have, the more solid it looks to a banker.
Another well-known fact, you have to measure your diverted water to manage it. Chris Reilly, the
Department of Water Resources Indian Creek Watermaster in Plumas County, educates people on this fact all the time. In one case, a diverter was correctly diverting the right amount, but was losing more than half of it in the short ditch before it reached the field. Why didn’t the farmer know? He had not measured it. Once Chris measured it, the owner knew what he was losing. He piped part of his ditch and was able to irrigate more acreage. That’s money in the pocket once the pipe is paid off!
Every buyer of property has a bunch of questions, and how much water is actually available is top of the list for a farm or ranch. If you can show records of how much you divert, it gives certainty to a doubtful buyer or potential lessee. They’ll know how much they can expect to have for irrigation in a wet, normal, or dry year. I had so many calls over the years I worked at the Department of Water Resources, from realtors, attorneys, buyers, and sellers, asking “What is my water right? How do I prove it?” Sometimes it was sell or no-sell depending on the answer. On one ranch near Fall River, a riparian right on a square-mile ranch was in question. A Nevada buyer called me several times trying to understand California water rights and prove whether or not there was a solid water right on this ranch. If the seller had documented his water right and how much he diverted annually, there would have been no doubt at all!
It supports your water right. Water rights make land worth more, a LOT more than dry land. The better a water right is documented, as well as diversions made under that right, the more solid you right is.
Most farmers want their kids to inherit the place and keep it in agricultural production. It is a way of life available to fewer families each year, which means it is scarce, and that makes living on a working farm that much greater a gift to leave behind you. Your will, or trust, or LLC, or corporation documents, need to be all squared away so your wishes are met after you have passed on. A proven water right is one of the important things you’ll need in that documentation to ensure your family can keep irrigating the farm down the generations.
That’s all for now, and a good night to all.