Comedian Paul Rodriguez: Valley Water Crisis No Joke!
VISALIA, Calif. (KMPH) —
A bit of Hollywood came to the valley, comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez made a stop in Visalia.
However, Rodriguez was not there to tell jokes.
He spent the time talking about one of the valley's most precious resource, water!
The actor-comedian turned water and farm labor advocate held nothing back, speaking to a crowd of several hundred city and county planners from through out the state.
Rodriguez, the current chair of the California Latino Water Coalition says we need to work together to protect our water.
Rodriguez says, "All the conservation in the world is not going to help thousands of acres that are not being planted. People in the cities need to realize that's our livelihood. Mendota and Firebaugh have the highest unemployment rate."
He adds, "The farmer has been the one, to cut back from 40 to 30, we use drip irrigation, there is really no more that we can do. We have lined the canals so we do not loose water. The other side has to realize, what do they want from us? Do they really think we are going to go back to Oklahoma or Mexico? We are not, work with us."
Water is in short supply and you do not have to go far to see it.
Valley growers are forced to dig deeper to find water, but because of that, others say their wells are drying up.
Rodriguez, who grew up in the valley says in some cities like Mendota where 8 out of 10 people are related to agriculture, without enough water thousands stand to loose everything.
Rodriguez says it's not an issue of whose right or wrong, water advocates or environmentalists, it's about working together to protect people and jobs.
Rodriguez says he hopes his words do not fall on deaf ears, and the planners will go back their cities with a better understanding of how precious water is to the San Joaquin valley, and in particular agriculture.