From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

Concerns mount for California water shortage

Coalition response…Commenter Mike Hudson targets commodities that fill a demand in export markets without realizing the benefits that result in dollars flowing from overseas buyers into California’s economy. In 2010 the value of our state’s agricultural exports totaled almost $15 billion, representing 14% of all U.S. agricultural exports.

Agricultural exports also provide a wide range of jobs in processing, packaging, transportation and a host of activities necessary to move farm products to shipping terminals. Officials at the Port of Oakland report that 30,000 agricultural jobs in the Central Valley region are tied to operations at the Port. Hudson’s statement that export crops don’t benefit any of us who live here is not supported by the facts. California farms can be one of the brightest spots in our beleaguered economy if farmers have the resources, including sufficient water, to grow the food that we and many others around the world depend on.

Coalition response…It’s important to have the facts on the table if we’re going to have a rational discussion about water supply in California. To begin with, no one is asking for “all the water they want,” that would result in you being out of business as a fisherman. What San Joaquin Valley farmers and Southern California residents want is an assurance that water supplies that they have the right to use (rights issued by the State Water Resources Control Board) will be delivered dependably. The system isn’t working for anyone now, not for farmers, not for families, not for the ecosystem, and as long as fish populations remain low, not for fishermen either. But focusing solely on export pumping as the cause of all these problems is not the answer. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as mandated by the State Legislature, address BOTH water supply and ecosystem problems. It is a big process that is not yet done and I’m sure your input along the way will help make it a better outcome for everyone.

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