Drought Crisis in the Valley

July 21, 2008 7:46:06 PM PDT
It's been so dry, Fresno County's huge fall lettuce crop is in jeopardy. "Desperate times require action and leadership, please provide it." Grower, Stuart Woolf pleaded for help from the congressional subcommittee looking into the drought. With thousands of acres wasting, and businesses drying up on the westside, growers and workers are desperate. Woolf said if the government doesn't find a solution soon he may have to take his operation and hundreds of jobs out of California. Woolf said: "I'm traveling to producing region overseas. There are political risks there. But we need to weigh those risks against the unreliability here."

Fresno Mayor Alan Autry blames the long foods lines and high unemployment in drought stricken towns on a perfect storm with no rain. Autry said:" ... Unfortunately we got a natural disaster, political disaster and a judicial disaster." But Congressman Devin Nunes says this is one storm we can weather despite court the battles to protect endangered species. His solution addresses a manmade drought fueled by an outdated infrastructure.

Congressman Devin Nunes said: "for one, quit giving away water to environmental radicals, Two, build a peripheral canal to fix problems in the delta, and three build more storage simply Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River." The head of the Westlands Water District says without a long term plan the Central Valley will no longer be the nation's food basket. Westlands Water District Tom Birmingham: "You will see significant economic disruption throughout the state. There will be hundreds of thousands of acres of the west and south end of the valley out of production." For now valley congressional leaders say they will continue to work on solutions to this crisis.

Complex solutions that can't come soon enough to families and towns devastated by the drought.

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