California farmers told to stop irrigating amid drought seek court order

A group of California farmers say they face financial ruin under orders to stop pumping river water to irrigate their crops this summer amid the state's relentless drought.

The Banta-Carbona Irrigation District in Tracy, California, filed a lawsuit on Thursday asking a judge to suspend the order issued by the state Water Resources Control Board. Last week, the state suspended pumping for more than 100 water users in California holding the some of the strongest water rights.

Attorney Jeanne Zolezzi, who represents the irrigation district, says the state threatens the farmers with fines of $22 million a month; the loss of orchards and vineyards could cost farmers $800 million.

Zolezzi says the state is overstepping its authority.

State water board George Kostyrko said he could not comment on the lawsuit.