As valley growers look ahead to the next season, two local lawmakers are doing what they can to make it a better one.
The question at hand; will valley growers get the water they need this year?
It's a issue Congressmen Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa hoped to address on Thursday when they hosted a meeting at the Los Banos Fairgrounds on Thursday.
The two lawmakers, along with top federal, state and local officials were on hand to talk about water allocations, and what can be done to address the on-going water crisis in both the short term and long term.
"Our Valley, already at the breaking point because of the foreclosure crisis, high unemployment rates, and drought conditions, cannot sustain the additional hit of this 'regulatory drought.' We have to come at this crisis from every angle. We need to stop blaming the pumps and our farmers as the reason for the decline of species in the Delta. Every factor - whether it's the pumps, municipalities that dump wastewater in the Delta, urban run-off, or non-native species feeding on endangered species - needs to be held responsible and mitigated in a way that doesn't devastate our farmers," said Cardoza following the meeting.
During the meeting, leaders discussed the need for more flexibility in operations of the water systems to help provide for an increased water supply.
Farmers throughout the valley say the water crisis had led them to leave a quarter-million acres of land idle; and thousands without work. Some cities have even reported unemployment rates as high as 40%.
Stay with KMPH and KMPH.com as we continue to follow this story.