Farm Bureau supports emergency response to water crisis
» February 24, 2010 «
Calling it a responsible short-term response to the California water crisis, the state's largest farm organization urged support of a proposed amendment to federal legislation that could immediately increase water supplies for farms and cities.
The California Farm Bureau Federation said that if adopted by Congress, the emergency, temporary measure would help the state gain needed time to hammer out more permanent solutions to the state's severe water supply problems.
In a letter to key members of Congress, California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger called on senators to support the proposed Emergency Temporary Water Supply Amendment being developed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The amendment would be attached to jobs legislation that the Senate will be considering shortly. Language for the amendment is being finalized, but Wenger said Farm Bureau supports the concept of Sen. Feinstein's proposal.
"We cannot stress enough that a carefully crafted amendment can make a tremendous difference for the people of California, especially those in the Central Valley," he said.
Wenger said the proposed amendment would make "minimal, reasonable modifications" that would allow more water to be moved into storage, while maintaining federal protections for fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
"In order to be responsible stewards of our state's water resources, we must be able to effectively move water where it's needed, when it's needed," Wenger said. "Right now, California is missing a vital opportunity to capture and store water generated from rain and snow the past few months. Now is the time to move this water into storage, for future use by our cities and farms."
He noted that this is "a critical time for many farmers to make planting decisions, and some even face tougher decisions about whether to stay in business." Wenger said any increase in water allocation "will make a huge difference for maintaining California food production, revitalizing rural communities and restoring jobs."
Wenger said Farm Bureau remains committed to pursue long-term solutions to California's water shortages, noting that the Feinstein proposal would provide "partial, temporary relief for the short-term water emergency."
"We must act to assure supplies of water for producing food, while meeting the needs of residents from the north to the south as well as fish and the environment," he said.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 81,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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