By the time you read this, I fervently hope the skies have poured Biblical proportions of rain and snow on the mountains and valleys of California and Arizona, filling reservoirs and aquifers in amounts sufficient for our needs. This, I have prayed for since warnings of severe drought began to be made in earnest last December. Prayer is something I do regularly, especially during times like these. God answers our prayers in His own way. Those answers sometimes are not the ones we want to hear. But He tells us not to “lean on our own understanding,” and we can never know why He does what He does. When He is silent we accept His will, and must make the best of it.
Humans often try to play God, but certainly can’t create water. Still, we aren’t entirely helpless. We are focused on the short-term, naturally, as immediate needs are critical and those pumps in Tracy must not be idle when the next pulse of water comes down through the Delta and is released for environmental purposes; it need not all go out to the ocean. The state and federal governments need to restore reliable surface water deliveries to farms. For the long term we need more surface and groundwater storage and improved methods of conveyance. It seems so simple but we know better.
Western Growers continues to work on securing a reliable supply of water for our members. When we do get more rain again and we have water, it must be saved, shared equitably, and managed better. We employ politics, the media and advocacy to accomplish this goal. Last month, members of the California ag industry, water managers and I met with President Obama, Governor Jerry Brown, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, Rep. Jim Costa and Ag Secretary Vilsack in Firebaugh to discuss the situation. We speak with leaders on both sides of the aisle and communicate our predicament, needs and value to the world.
The media is all over this story and we are being sought out by NBC, CBS, FOX, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times and many others. Dave Puglia, our water expert and senior vice president of state government affairs and communications has been on television and spoken to dozens of news organizations, as have I. And several WG members have stepped up to speak with the media as well. I want to thank them for telling their stories.
This effort will continue until the heavens open up and provide this dry state with enough rain to keep things going. My staff members and I have given this our highest priority, but without the help of the Highest Authority, we can’t be sure water will come.
God has made us and tells us, “In this world you will have trouble.” Indeed. There isn’t a soul who has not known trouble in life. Earth is not heaven, after all. He also tells us to persevere. And no people show perseverance better than farmers. It’s unfortunate so few of our political leaders demonstrate similar character traits. So until more humans can act like angels, we must carry on, and continue to do the best with what we’ve got and keep praying — unceasingly. With faith there is always hope.
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