Valley Voices

Trump offers hope for California water

Residents line up to receive drought relief packages on Nov. 16, 2015, in Huron. To get the food packages, workers must either have had their hours reduced or have lost their jobs because of the drought or regulatory water restrictions.
Residents line up to receive drought relief packages on Nov. 16, 2015, in Huron. To get the food packages, workers must either have had their hours reduced or have lost their jobs because of the drought or regulatory water restrictions. The Fresno Bee file

The Bee’s post-election editorial, “California was a bulwark against Trumpism,” said that Trump must find it within himself to be president of the entire nation and not ignore California. Rather than go on a California apology tour, as The Bee suggests, perhaps Trump and Congress will deliver on something real for California – water for cities and farms.

Eight decades ago, by developing a magnificent water-delivery system, the federal government delivered on a promise made to its own “rust belt” working class by developing the Central Valley into a domestic agricultural superpower.

Since then, the relentless “grinding down” of laws and regulations like the Endangered Species Act, Central Valley Project Improvement Act, bad biological opinions and water management decisions promises to make the Central Valley the next “rust belt.”

The water regulatory regime in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., is dead set against California agriculture, and now we finally have an opportunity for hope and change.

Just hours after President-elect Trump’s first statement to the American people, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan identified core areas where the federal government had done much more harm than good, using the mismanagement of western water as an example.

He also gave recognition to a Trump administration eager to work with congressional counterparts to govern by the will of the electorate, not by a detached and disconnected elite class and bureaucratic regime.

So, for us, the hardworking family farmers who’ve staked their livelihoods on the ability to produce food and fiber, this election represents the opportunity to restore the agricultural promise.

Now is the time for unified advocacy of our water needs, not consternation over the lack of attention paid to California during the campaign.

George Radanovich is president of the California Fresh Fruit Association, a voluntary, nonprofit agricultural trade association that represents California’s fresh fruit industry. Its office is in Fresno. Radanovich is a former U.S. representative for California’s 19th District, serving from 1995 to 2011.

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