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The fight for water continues

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of Central Valley farm workers staged a protest last week in Sacramento to call for lifting the restrictions on water for agriculture, which has caused high unemployment rates in the fields.

Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, blamed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for restricting water to farmers in response to the drought faced by the state.

"It is urgent that farmers receive water because the economic situation in the Valley is getting worse, more people are unemployed because there are no job for lack of water," Caballero said.

Basically, what Caballero wants is that the water be divided in an equal way; this measure will give everyone the chance to work.

"The amount of water currently received is not enough; it is impossible for thousands of crops to bear fruit with only 5 percent of the water. For the sake of the economy we must provide water to our fields," said Caballero.

According to statistics, nearly 80,000 farm workers have lost their jobs in just the Central Valley due to lack of water.

Assembly member Juan Arámbula, D-Fresno, said it is urgent to act immediately to solve the problem.

"We cannot wait, we need to take immediate action because our people are suffering," said Arámbula.

This is the third year in a row that the state is imposing water restrictions due to the drought. It is expected that only this year the economic losses in agriculture reach $3,000 millions.

"We cannot stop the main economic engine of our state," Arámbula insisted.

Some measures have been put in place to address water shortages. The Latino Coalition for Water, recently approved several projects, among these a water desalination plant located in Carlsbad, a town located between the cities of Los Ángeles and San Diego.

This plant will have capacity to produce 50 million gallons of water a day, which could feed 300,000 people with drinking water a year.

California produces half of the nation's fruits, vegetables and nuts, and 22% of the nation's milk supply.

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mmartinez@vidaenelvalle.com

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