A small group of citrus producers worked themselves into a frenzy and a bit of anger as they talked about tree removal.
Jun 02, 2014
We direct your attention to the e-mail and letter from Citrus Mutual to Valley water agencies:
Ronald D. Jacobsma/General Manager/Friant Water Users Authority
Tom Birmingham/General Manager/Westlands Water District
Steve Chedester/Executive Director/San Joaquin River Water Authority
Jim Beck/General Manager/Kern County Water Agency
Gentlemen, on Tuesday I attended a very long committee meeting that was dominated by water issues on several fronts. A small group of citrus producers worked themselves into a frenzy and a bit of anger as they talked about tree removal. On Wednesday the Board met, 24 of 25 attended, and the discussion was repeated, enhanced leading to direction to staff, primarily myself.(See California Citrus Mutual Board of Directors)
I recognize we do not have the water management expertise you all present. However our skill set at solving problems politically is equal to any in the state as it relates to agriculture in my view at both the state and federal level. Our goal is not let this period in time ever repeat itself. I believe that parallels your thoughts as well. How we get there may be a difference of opinion but the objective will always be to make progress without adversely affecting our colleagues in agriculture. (no matter what part of the state they farm)
I represent an industry that has never faced, nor envisioned facing a situation re water that now exists. They don’t like it.
Joel Nelson/California Citrus Mutual
May 30, 2014
Too often our respective constituencies lament about the inaction or inefficiency of government to achieve compromise and subsequently move forward on a subject for the benefit of of society as a whole. I'm sure you find yourself, as I do, lamenting that a Senator and a Congressman need to find a way to work better together for example. One would think a rural caucus or a Valley delegation could/would be on the same page on so many subjects and yet we often scratch our heads as to why that has not or does not occur.
The grower board members at Citrus Mutual are now scratching their heads as it relates to surface water availability this year. We have members in all of your service areas and all of them are being affected by the lack of release from Shasta to meet South of Delta water demands. We have showcased the impacts on our family farmers, communicated with agency leadership and elected officials. You too have done all this.
As we developed momentum from five offices, Senator Feinstein, Congressman McCarthy, Nunes, Costa and Valadao an 'ask' was sought to provide a stronger tool for pounding on the agencies regarding fish water needs. The representatives sought, as we understand it, a model that would respond to that presently used by the Bureau and NFMS and thereby justify the release of a potential 300,000 a.f. additional volume, at a minimum, to south of the Delta users thereby allowing Friant to keep its inventory of water and not adversely affect other stakeholders whether they be water districts or environmental concerns.
But for some reason your teams couldn't accomplish that objective. Your teams couldn't set aside perceived differences and put forward a model that would have created more water via additional Shasta releases. This is puzzling and frustrating to the producers of citrus in your respective service areas. The goal was accessing more water from Shasta as per the request from these five offices.
We had them all in agreement as to the action step and all they needed was a model. I don't profess to have the technical expertise to create the model, but you all do. But when this calculation cannot be developed because of internal priorities versus Valley priorities then we are no different than the elected officials we lament about.
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