Law makers talk water with farmers

Water forum discuses Federal Bill 2898 with farmers as solution to water crisis

Tulare, Calif. - Just one day after Donald Trump stopped by the Valley to talk about water, many in the Ag industry gathered Wednesday to continue the conversation.

Congressman Devin Nunes helped organize Trump's visit and also organized the water forum in Tulare.

The county is still considered the number one Ag producer in the state, but experts say a lack of water contributed to a $1-billion decrease in sales last year.

That's why more than 700 people attended the water forum, one of them was Will Coit.

Coit farms Pomegranates, Pistachios and Almonds in Fresno county.

He says Tulare isn't the only place suffering from the drought.

"My farm got a 5 percent allocation," says Coit talking about water.

He says that's not enough water to irrigate his farm.

"So basically 20 percent of my acres are farmable," said Coit.

Steve Malanca sells farm equipment. He says when farmers like Coit don't have enough water it has a trickle down effect.

"Farm equipment sales have plumetted because of farmers uncertainty of how much water he is going to have to farm every year," says Malanca, who works at Mac's Farm Equipment.

Congressman Nunes and David Valadao organized the water forum to convince farmers Federal Bill 2898 is the answer to their problems.

"It covers everything from the east side of the Valley, to pumping, to actually streamlining the process for more reservoirs, the predatory species as far as the Stripe Bass, It actually helps in quite a few ways," says Valadao.

Nunes says there is water in California, it's just being mis-managed and that this bill will fix that.

"10 million acre feet this year alone went out to the ocean that could've been in the Valley. Every acre would be farmed, imagine the people that would be employed if that happen," says Nunes.

Coit hopes a water solution is found soon or else he will have to cut back how much food he produces.

"We have plenty of resources right here between these five counties if we are willing to share a little between the east and the west," says Coit.

Congressman Nunes says the Valley is 2.5 million acre feet short of the amount of water needed for farmers to maximize food production.

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