Friday, September 11, 2009

California's West Side Water Issue

So close yet so far away? It is said that into every life a little rain must fall. But in the case of Wast Side Water the rain would be a welcome relief to the drought being perpetrated by invironmentalists and policticians. Now it has come to my attention that Fox News is planning another visit to our valley on this Thursday September 17th.
As a farmer for 12 years and a pastor for the past 14 I have firsthand knowledge of the drastic effects water shortages can have on our valley. The current man made water shortage on the west side coupled with the housing crisis and recession present a triple threat to the people of that agriculturally rich region. Those communities though removed by a few miles are extensions of us as a whole. This truth was never as real as it was on September 12th 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11. Just as the ripple effects of the Sept. 11th 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center affected the totality of our nation. So to now we must realize that the humanitarian needs and the lack of agricultural output produced by the lack of water deliveries to our west side have produced a ripple effect across the entire valley economy.
We cannot afford to turn a deaf ear or blind eye to the suffering of those so near to us simply because we have water. We must understand that what affects our valley neighbors affects us as a whole. That joblessness and revenue loss have measured affects and can no longer be ignored. Now it appears that Fox News is returning once again to bring attention to the situation. I was made aware of their upcoming visit by Brandon Shoemaker a parishioner and friend. He is a Republican running for the 31st district assembly seat in the 2010 election.
As a community leader I feel it is my civic duty to inform myself on the issues facing our community, state, and nation. When I received Brandon's e-mail I was so glad to hear that Fox News was returning to additional recognition to the plight of the farming communities affected by the mismanagement of our state water resources. Last time they came they devoted only one segment of their show to this issue. I am hoping that they will be able to devote even more airtime on this next visit.
In connection with that I felt it was advisable to gather information regarding the issue as I see it. There are basically two things I feel might benefit our discussion on the water issue.
Firstly, UC Davis does a report for the US government on California’s contribution to the overall US export market in all areas. This is an eye opening report and brings clarity to the need for this valley as the bread basket of America. That report shows California produced 14.8% of the US agricultural exports in 2006. That is a staggering statistic. Additionally a bipartisan group called California Economic Strategy Panel appointed by the legislature in 1993 has the responsibility to and I quote; “develop an overall economic vision and strategy to guide public policy. The Panel engages in an objective and collaborative biennial planning process that examines economic regions, industry clusters, and cross-regional economic issues.” Where are they in all this? Why hasn’t this group recognized the plight of this region and sounded the alarm to law makers. Someone needs to hold them accountable.
The bottom line is environmentalists funded by our state and federal tax dollars and supported by our state legislature our running the show. The old adage, “food grows where water flows” is true! And transversely when the water doesn’t flow the food doesn’t grow. As a result of the mismanagement at the state level jobs are lost, whole communities sit in dusty ruin and our overall California exports diminish.
What this nation needs right now is less interference by environmentalist and legislature. They need to open up the doors for job creation instead of destroying jobs and by extension whole communities, for the sake of a few fish that to my knowledge are plentiful throughout the western hemisphere. The real story here is that a federal biological study done by the USBR and sited by a report at the CalCamber shows no significant increase in the smelt population as a result of shutting down the agricultural diversion pumps.
Additionally the real culprit to the reduced population in all fish populations from the Striped Bass to the Longfin Smelt appears to be the introduction and over population of the overbite clam. From my investigation, the overbite clam is not indigenous to the ecosystem of our fisheries, and feeds on the same natural food source as the smelt. (see page 43 last paragraph of the USBR report)
I realize this posting has become quit tedious and so I relent. Never the less I felt knowledge of the facts was in order. I hope this brief but tedious delineation of the issues helps in some way to bring some accountability to those with the power to send the water to our valley, and shine the spotlight on the insanity of those who would support the misguided notion to continue withholding water from this vital agricultural region of California.

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