Photo by Art (RUS) Potosi via Flickr Creative Commons

Central Valley Water Forums: Facts vs. Fictions

Why spend the time to make sense of our water crisis? Because our lives depend on it!

On Saturday, March 13, set aside some time to attend the Central Valley Water Forum: Facts vs. Fictions, which is a free forum on water, and get the education and answers that you need to make sense of the Central Valley’s “water crisis” and discover what it means to you and your family. The forum will take place on the Fresno City College campus at Forum Hall in the Social Science Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The day will be packed with exciting speakers and experts who know the facts about our waterscape and current water issues. They are willing to spend the day sharing their knowledge and answering your questions.

The forum was developed to bring our community together for a reasonable discussion about our water supply, its sustainability and what it all means to the residents of the Valley. Recent media coverage of our water issues in local and national news outlets has painted a dismal picture of our water future without any real discussion of the truths behind the problems or the real solutions. Come find out for yourself the status of your water supply, make new friends and learn what you can do to get engaged with the issues.

This is no traveling water road show like the many that have buzzed through town with a select guest list and sob stories that would fill a river; this is a homegrown gathering that will provide residents a space to understand the issues and prepare for the tough decisions ahead that will define our Valley’s future. Journalist/author Mark Arax will introduce a morning roundtable of panelists who will address difficult questions, including the following:

  • “Is our water supply sustainable?”
    Panelist: Dr. David Cehrs, farmer/Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) Board member
  • “Whose water is it?”
    Panelist: Lloyd Carter, journalist/water activist
  • “Can the Delta be restored?”
    Panelist: Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, Restore the Delta
  • “What are the ecological impacts of our water crisis?”
    Panelist: Dan Bacher, The Fish Sniffer
  • “Is our water safe to drink?”
    Panelist: The Community Water Center

Child care, translation services and limited transportation will be provided free of charge. Lunch will be available for $6 a person.

The afternoon workshops will include presenters and perspectives on the water issues most affecting our Valley communities. Our relationship to our water in many ways defines how we live and what quality of life we are afforded. Explore with those engaged in the issues how the Valley is unique and what you can do to make a difference.

  • “Community Rights to Health vs. Corporate Rights to Profit”
    Presenter: Dr. Nancy Price
  • “Water and Jobs”
    Presenter: Dr. Jeffrey Michael, University of the Pacific
  • “Water and Land-Use Planning”
    Presenter: Chris Acree, Revive the San Joaquin
  • “Where Our Water Is Going”
    Presenter: Walt Shubin, Fresno County grape farmer
  • “Water Conservation”
    Presenter: City of Fresno

The Comprehensive Water Legislation Package passed in 2009 sets a blueprint for massive water system enhancements throughout the state, including Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem improvements and water supply reliability enhancements. Funding for many of the programs and infrastructure improvements will need to be authorized by the voters. Come to the forum and learn more about the $11.4 billion proposal and decide how you will vote on this bond.

The day will wrap up with a pro and con debate on the water bond initiative scheduled for the November ballot this year. Guest speakers familiar with the content of the water bond will discuss the measure and engage in a rational debate over its value to the Valley and the state. Use the lessons learned from the day to better understand all sides of the water issues covered by your media outlets and break through the water propaganda that has bombarded the Valley.

Whether we are entering a new age of water wars, a water crisis or a water renaissance is yet to be determined, but the decisions we make now will set the stage for our own water future. Join us on March 13 to start the process of local decision making and help to make Valley voices heard during this year’s statewide water negotiations.

For more information on the event, call 559-313-7674. Visit the Revive the San Joaquin Web site (www.revivethesanjoaquin.org) for registration forms.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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