March for Water, Day Two

April 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of growers and farm workers walked several miles for the second leg of a massive four day protest to demand more water for farms.                  |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

Day two of the March for Water stretched along Interstate Five in Fresno County. The march ends Friday at San Luis Reservoir.

This is where day two of the march ended late Wednesday afternoon. Many of the participants have walked nearly 20 miles since Tuesday, and they say they will keep walking until their plea for more water is heard.

Hundreds of people marched through windy weather on Wednesday ... all with the same goal of calling attention to the state's critical water shortage, but each with a different story of suffering. Martina Guevara says she and her seven children often can't afford to eat because she and other family members can't find work.

Martina Guevara said, "We're suffering because we don't have money to buy food, because there's no jobs."

Guevara is one of thousands of farm workers who have been laid off as farmers are forced to let their fields lie fallow.

Bob Diedrich said, "After farming for 40 years it's the worst year I've had ever. Farmed 1100 acres, this year I'm farming 300. Laid off 4 guys."

Bob Diedrich's family has been farming for nearly 130 years. He says their farm survived the great depression, but it might not make it another year. Deidrich carried this picture of his son and grandson during the march because he says the water shortage drove them away.

"My son he moved to Texas because he seen what I was going through. And that's pretty hard for me to take. After you do something for 40 years for your son and you can't give it back to him," said Diedrich.

Deidrich and the rest of the demonstrators are calling for an immediate temporary reprieve from water pumping restrictions designed to protect an endangered fish species. And they're hoping this long march will convince lawmakers to listen.

"It's not tiring. To me it's not tiring I'd do this for a year if I had to and if I knew it was going to come out where we were gonna get some water, I'd do it til I drop dead," said Diedrich.

Protestors are also want lawmakers to put a water bond measure on the ballot for the next election, and they're asking for public funding for those facing overwhelming hardship as a result of the water shortage.

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