Sept. 10, 2013
Governor’s continued leadership is needed in water discussion
Governor Jerry Brown’s continued leadership in resolving California’s water problems was the number one request from a panel of farm water representatives speaking during a joint meeting today of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and the California Water Commission.
That answer was in response to a question asked by Craig McNamara, president of the Board of Food and Agriculture, as to what were the top messages that his board could deliver to the Governor.
Executive Director Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition said securing a reliable water future for California is important for jobs and the economy.
“There is a lack of understanding on the part of the public regarding the serious water issues we face,” said Wade. “The Governor’s leadership in the ongoing water discussion is important, especially as it pertains to statewide initiatives designed to provide a reliable water supply and increase water storage.”
Wade told members of the two State boards earlier in the meeting that water issues transcend regions and impact every individual in California. He pointed out that current water supply issues from the Colorado River to the North Coast are important to California’s farm economy.
“There needs to be a reliable water supply for farmers throughout our state,” he said.
Wade added that a reliable water supply not only safeguards the 600,000 agricultural jobs on the state’s farms but also has a “ripple effect” that creates another 700,000 jobs off the farm. He identified a dockworker from the Port of Oakland whose job is connected to the movement of one-third of California’s agricultural exports through the port as one of those off the farm jobs.
“Agriculture isn’t an industry that competes with consumers or the environment for its share of California’s water supply,” Wade concluded. “It is intertwined through food production, habitat, jobs and the economy.
“Our economy depends on the state’s farms and farms depend on water to produce food, fiber and nursery products.”
The California Farm Water Coalition is the state’s largest organization to focus only on farm water. Its membership represents 5.4 million irrigated acres.