Fresno Water Forum is Standing Room Only - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fresno Water Forum is Standing Room Only


By: Ashley Ritchie

Westside farmer Bob Diedrich has spent his life growing tomatoes, cotton and beans in the Valley.

But out of his 1,000 acres, he's now farming 300, which forced him to make a painful decision.

"I hate to even say it, but I sold my ranch this year," Diedrich said.

Diedrich's plight isn't unique to him.

But he does feel it's falling on deaf ears.

"It's frustrating because we're not getting anywhere and nobody's listening," Diedrich said.

"To this administration, it's just business as usual, providing lip service to the problems of this Valley, giving hope, but providing no change," Congressman Tom McClintock said.

Four members of the House Natural Resources Committee were in Fresno Monday to hear from the public about their concerns over the water crisis.

"This is a ripple effect. I'm not a farmer. But it's affecting my company," one concerned citizen said.

"We're saying, help Haiti, we are an earthquake in itself because we're drying up," another local resident said.

"How do you think I felt when I stood in a food line in Mendota and saw ‘product of China', in the richest farm land in the world?" Phil Larson, Fresno County Supervisor, said.

But not all were there to fight for the farmers.

"The benefits of San Joaquin River restoration in our area have not yet been realized," Chris Acree, with Revive the San Joaquin, said.

Acree appealed to the committee to keep the environment in mind.

"I request that the federal legislature not rush to pass bills that weaken the endangered species act or enable more south of the Delta transfers without ensuring that these measures are compatible with Delta sustainability

efforts going on at the state," Acree said.

Lawmakers say they'll take the public opinions back to Washington and hope for action.

But for Bob Diedrich it's already too late.

"It's frustrating to me. Like I told somebody the other day, I might be the first one to go, but I probably won't be the last," he said.

Congressman Devin Nunes says he is trying to drum up support for his bill that would turn the pumps back on.

Nunes says he needs the support of more than 200 lawmakers to have a chance at accomplishing that.

At last count, he says, more than 100 have signed on.

During Monday's water forum, eastside farmers spoke up voicing their fear that their land is next to dry up.



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