Hundreds of trucks and cars honked their horns in support as they passed marchers participating in last week’s “March for Water” in an attempt to bring national attention to the results of taking water from San Joaquin Valley Westside farms.
The marchers were hopeful that State and federal officials would somehow turn the pumps back on to allow more water to flow through the Delta to Westside farms, thus restoring thousands of jobs that have been lost.
“March for Water” was organized by the California Latino Water Coalition and supported by farmers, businesses and even a
The hoped-for increased flow of water never materialized as the marchers stood in the hot sun on the final-day’s rally at San Luis Reservoir and heard speaker after speaker proclaim their unity with the marchers’ cause but no one uttered the words—“more water is coming.”
Anticipation was high during the four-day march that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would speak at the rally and announce a suspension of environmental regulations that are keeping the water from flowing to Westside farms.
It further becomes a maze of both State and federal environmental regulations that have laid claim to the water that once flowed to Westside farms. The court order that directed a curtailment of water deliveries in favor of the Delta smelt took place in a federal courtroom. The water that flows through the Central Valley Project is federal water. Perhaps President Obama could issue a federal directive to result in increased flows but any role that our California Governor could play is unclear.
Yet, the marchers knew from first-hand experience that halting the flow to Westside farms mean soaring unemployment for thousands that is impacting individual lives. How ironic can it be that those individuals who worked the fields in years past to provide our nation with food must now stand in both unemployment and food lines? This desperation was clearly seen in the eyes of the marchers.
Several days after the marchers had returned to their homes the Bureau of Reclamation announced an increase in water deliveries to
The real message that today’s water scenario facing all of
Mike Wade, Executive Director
California Farm Water Coalition