TULARE COUNTY (KFSN) --Valley Republican Congressman Devin Nunes hosted a public meeting Wednesday on the Valley's complex water issues. The house was packed for the forum and Nunes said it was an opportunity to present an outlook for the future.
Nunes and other speakers said the forecast is bleak if they can't come together and fix a major problem. That problem being that we currently have a 2.5-million acre feet water deficit in the San Joaquin Valley sub-basins. They argue that federal environmental laws continue to limit how much water can be pumped from the Delta and delivered to Central Valley farmers.
"There is not a shortage of water in this state, there is a shortage of leadership. There is plenty of water in this state, and we need to get it to this area so that we can continue to farm. And if not, we're going to have to idle about a million acres of land."
Nunes said local elected officials need to unite and advocate for fixes to the problem. Kings County Supervisor and farmer Doug Verboon agrees and believes farmers need to put aside any differences and speak as one voice. He believes if they don't they'll cease to be true farmers.
"It's gonna come to a point where it's going to be a breaking point where you cannot farm anymore. So you'll sell your water, or sell something, or stop farming, and move somewhere else. You have to stay alive."
Valley Congressman David Valadao said water has been flowing rapidly through the Delta this year, but we've simply failed to capture it. He believes HR 2898 has the solutions to the state's water problems, including provisions for more storage projects. But it will need to pass the senate first.
"We just need to get some support on the other side of the capitol so we can get it to the president's desk."
The forum comes one day after Trump talked about Valley water issues with Nunes and donors at a Tulare fundraiser. Nunes said Trump understands the problem more than any other presidential candidate he has known.
"And so I want, whoever the presidential candidates are going to be, I want them to be here in the Valley. I want to show them the problems, and the good thing about Donald Trump is he's a construction guy so he gets it."
There was plenty of discussion on the San Luis Reservoir Wednesday. Earlier this month, the lake hit a 25-year low. It now stands at 15-percent capacity.