55 / 32
      57 / 32
      56 / 33

      Valley Drought 2014: Water Rally Brings Hope

      About a thousand people gathered in Firebaugh to protest Sacramento's handling of the state's water crisis.

      So far their efforts have not{}fallen on deaf ears.

      A few hours later, in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown ordered the state's water leaders to make some changes in the drought emergency orders issued earlier this year.

      The changes will assure farmers of whatever water becomes available.

      But how much is still unknown.

      Madera County farm worker Fernando Huerta listened to speeches.

      But Huerta says his only concern. Will he have a job this summer?

      Both state and federal water projects have forecasted no deliveries of river water for several million acres of agriculture this summer.

      Huerta says water boards need to realize the valley isn't just a bump in the road on the way to Los Angeles.

      The Central Valley supplies a large percentage of the nation's food supply, and without water jobs will be lost.

      Huerta says, "It's very serious, without enough water I can't get work, my friends can't get work. We will not be able to support our families."

      Mayor of Mendota Robert Silva says the current projected water deliveries to the ag industry over the next couple of years will break the bank, and make 2009's unemployment numbers seem small.

      Mayor Silva says, "The latest statistics of my community is 36% unemployment. It's unbelievable. So what's going to happen? We know without water deliveries, unemployment will end up around 50 percent."

      Bottom line, no water means no crops, no crops mean no pay checks, and no pay checks mean high unemployment.