If you drive out of Sacramento, California, into the Central Valley, you will see farmers hard at work in their irrigated fields. Near the city, you will see row crops like beans and corn being grown. You will also see beautiful grape vineyards, fragrant fruit orchards and cattle grazing in pastures. As you pass into the San Joaquin Valley, you will see rows of cotton with their little white buds, orchards of peaches and nectarines, nut trees and fields of berries being carefully tended by farmers. While farming techniques have drastically improved, it is the way it has been for decades.
Many believe that it is a way of life worth preserving. Recently, the State Water Resources Board recommended that 40 percent of the water will have to be allowed to flow into the ocean. There reasoning is that it will help protect species of fish that may die off if the river levels are allowed to get to low, according to BuzzFeed. This doubles the amount of water that has to be left unused to flow into the ocean. One has to wonder if the fish have not died off at the 20 percent level, why does it need changing?
The decision is not final. Many in the area believe that if the situation was in a more populous area, the Resources Board would have arrived at a different decision. If their decision is allowed to stand, irrigation pipes throughout the valley will run dry. The water within the underground water system cannot build up. A way of life may be destroyed. The area may never recover from what it has taken faithful stewards of the land decades to build.
There are those who think the proposal does not go far enough including spokesmen with the Golden Gate Salmon Association and with the Natural Resources Council. The plan as it stands now could eliminate thousands of jobs as farmer’s will be forced to leave up to 200,000 acres unplanted. People may have to move away and will never have the resources needed to return to their homes. When you drive through the Central Valley a decade from now, you may see miles of barren land.