Valley Facing Water Shortage

June 13, 2008 6:57:35 PM PDT
Valley mayors are bracing for the worst and looking for more ways to protect jobs, and businesses from the water shortage. They met on Friday to discuss drought conditions. Many mayors praised California's governor for declaring a state of emergency. They say the drought is having a huge impact on everybody from farmers to those who pick the crops.Valley farmers are contending with an extremely dry winter. A low snow pack and strict court ordered water restrictions are being called a perfect storm. Robert Silva is mayor of Mendota. Silva said, "I've been living out there for all my life. I think it is the worst situation that I've seen in the west side community in Mendota." Silva said unemployment in his community stands at 40-percent. With not enough water for crops Silva said there's no work.

Fresno Congressman Jim Costa said the federal government won't declare the valley a disaster area until the drought's impacts can be measured. That means drastic help from the nation's capital could arrive in the fall. Costa said, "Of course our hands are full right now with the problems associated the floods in the Midwest ? but our drought conditions have the potential to have similar economic losses."

Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez wants all leaders to focus on the future. Lopez said this year's drought proves the state needs more ground water banking and more reservoirs. Lopez said, "This could be ongoing, year after year. We have to get the governor's comprehensive plan in action right away. That's why we are pleading with legislators to take immediate action."

The government is exploring a reservoir at temperance flat, but that project is years away from construction. Congressman Costa said bottom line California must live on less water.


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