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Who Will Lead?

Local officials like mayors, councilmen and supervisors apparently have not seen this as their fight.

Apr 10, 2013

In a recent news conference Reps. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and David Valadao (R-Hanford), county supervisors, council members, mayors and others discussed the impacts of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s recent cutbacks of more than 800,000 acre-feet of water due to Delta pumping restrictions required to protect Delta smelt. They called for support of Governor Brown's Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). Meanwhile 22 lawmakers from districts throughout the state released a letter urging the Brown administration to consider an alternative to the BDCP saying that the plan could "sully irrigation water, endanger fish and rob the ecosystem" of needed flows. There's a lot of fighting yet to be done before this plan is implemented.

We were glad to see elected officials from all levels of government come together in an attempt to solve our Valley's water issues. The problem is that the BDCP solution of building tunnels under the Delta is years away, maybe decades, if ever. Our question is: What do we do now? Would it be possible for every mayor, councilman, supervisor, assemblyman, state senator and congressman in the Valley to hold a news conference or write a letter demanding we use the water system we have right now?

The state and federal water systems we have now are totally able to deliver the water we need while decisions are being made about the BDCP. There isn't a lack of water, there's a lack of political will, what we would call cockpit error, or the congressionally created dust bowl. When the law runs us instead of us running the law, something is terribly wrong.

Local officials like mayors, councilmen and supervisors apparently have not seen this as their fight. They are more concerned with issues directly inside their respective cities, counties or districts. We don't think we will have a healthy Fresno, Modesto or Bakersfield unless we have a healthy Selma, Kerman, Madera, Merced, Visalia, Hanford, Tulare, Mendota, etc. And, we don't think all these Valley cities can be healthy without water. Can or will all these elected officials get on the same page? Will someone step up and lead? If someone does, they will make a lot of friends. 

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