10/19/2014

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Business

Political leaders call Kern's water supply 'desperate situation'

Political leaders call Kern's water supply 'desperate situation'
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A desperate situation – that’s how Congressman David Valadao described the Central Valley’s water outlook for 2014.

He gave an update in a meeting Tuesday.

"We've got a pretty desperate situation," said congressman Valadao, “and this is not just about farmers, this is about communities."

Forecasters have predicted one of the driest California winters on record.

Both Valadao and California Sen. Jean Fuller are pressuring President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene.

“What we're asking today, is basically for the administration, both the president and the governor of California, to help out," Valadao said.

Last month, the State Water Project announced Kern County's initial water allocation will be just 5 percent of the contracted amount.

Kern County Water Agency manager Jim Beck said that’s not enough for farmers.

“That's the worst that we've seen in over 20 years,” said Beck. "Our economy is at stake. If we don't have enough water, our economy will literally dry up."

And, it's not just about agriculture, said Senator Fuller, it could also hurt consumers.

“What we need to do is translate that 5 percent to people so that they understand, that when they turn their faucet on at home, their water rates are going to go straight up," Fuller said.
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