Water bond supporters ready to renew campaign

FRESNO, Calif.

Supporters fought for several years to put this water bond on the November ballot. It would upgrade the state's aging water delivery system. Now the delay makes it tougher for them to keep momentum going for two more years.

Fields full of cantaloupes are a sweet sight on the Valley's west side. The harvest keeps hundreds of people employed in Firebaugh.

Grower Joe Del Bosque said the decision to put off the water bond until 2012 was tough to take. Del Bosque said, "It was a little distressing at first because we worked so hard on this thing and we thought we could probably get victory in November."

Drip irrigation has helped Del Bosque conserve during drought years. He idled over 900 acres in 2009 due to a decreased water supply. Del Bosque explained, "We cut out all our wheat. We cut out all of our tomatoes and then we cut our cantaloupe acreage by 60-percent."

Mario Santoyo says the Latino Water Coalition will now take a more aggressive approach in educating the public of the need for a water bond in 2012.

Santoyo said, "Build basically a war chest for what will be a challenging campaign. The disappointment has not worn off. This is bittersweet."

Both Santoyo and Del Bosque believe a wet year hindered the push for a water bond. Del Bosque said, "Right now it seems like the drought is over because the drought is in natural terms is over but we have to keep fighting because droughts can come back."

Bond supporters marched for water back in April of 2009. The challenge will be to keep the issue in the public eye. Del Bosque said, "I feel we accomplished a lot with the march. Number one, we got national attention."

Santoyo said water bond supporters will gather at the state capitol on Wednesday to announce a renewed push to get the bond passed in 2012.

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