From the New York Times:

Andrew Gregson, an official with the New South Wales Irrigators Council, is the kind of Australian completely at home in the agricultural sea that is California’s San Joaquin Valley. He knows all about the business and the social fabric of farming and about irrigated agriculture. He believes that modern regulators favor environmental uses of water over agricultural ones, and he is not pleased about that.

Yet the water controls and markets in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin are quite different from the limited versions in California, where farmers exert a lot of political muscle and tend to resist any change in the water regimen, particularly environmental claims on water.

California farmers have been through several years of scarcity, because of both a drought and court-ordered diversions to protect endangered fish. Fields went fallow and jobs were lost.

For more, see: Divvying Up the Water Down Under