Water Bond Deadline Quickly Approaches

Sacramento, CA, USA Saturday is the deadline for state legislators to put a /*water bond measure*/ on the November ballot. The valley farm workers who traveled here to Sacramento say they're depending on lawmakers to protect their livelihood.

More than a thousand valley farm workers desperate to protect their jobs and their families rallied at the state capitol for the second time in just three weeks.

Protestor: "Without water we have no jobs."

Their message now has a new sense of urgency due to the impending deadline for putting a water bond on the ballot.

Gaby Sanchez, Fresno Farm Worker: "It's going to be too late. We need something done as soon as possible."

Drought conditions and court-ordered water restrictions have caused millions of dollars in crop losses and led to hundreds of lay-offs in Fresno County alone.

Eliseo Ayala, Rally Coordinator: "Jobs that used that used to last 6, 7, 8 months are only lasting 3 months, which is really hurting a lot of their families."

Some valley packing houses shut down for the day so workers could join the caravan to the capital and urge lawmakers to pass the $9 billion dollar bond measure proposed by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Letting California run out of water is simply no option, failure in this case is no option."

The plan includes money to build new dams and improve the system used to move water around the state. But environmentalists say it will do more harm than good, and some legislators are concerned about the cost.

Alan Autry, Fresno Mayor: "There's a lot of fear…"

But Fresno Mayor Alan Autry says the state can't afford to wait any longer for a solution, and he made an unusual pledge to show his commitment to the cause.

Mayor Alan Autry: "Every meeting until this water deal is done, you're gonna see old Bubba in jeans and a work shirt with you."

State legislators have mixed opinions over whether it's possible to approve a water bond before the Saturday deadline. Some say the issue is too important to rush. Others argue the situation is too critical to wait.


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