The San Joaquin Valley Water Leadership Forum is an organization that has evolved into existence over the last seven years as the debate over the management of our valley’s precious water resources has intensified. Unfortunately lost in this protracted debate, is a way for all segments of our rural and urban communities to participate in water planning and decision-making. The wise use and sustainability of an ever-dwindling supply of high quality water for use by our farmers and cities – as well as for recreation and the environment – must become a priority for all San Joaquin Valley residents.
A typical scenario for our valley’s water resources involves outside water-seeking interests fighting their battles in Sacramento to gain control of an ever-increasing share of valley water. Arguments about river restoration, water storage, water banking, and levees, to name a few, often overshadow the reasoned discussions that are occurring here locally. The San Joaquin Valley is branded with the stigma of these political debates and left without the resources to solve their issues- as well as our own.
Basically, too many of us it appears that our politicians have become increasingly polarized and expedient in their approach to the major challenges facing our valley, such as education, public safety, economic growth, and a maintaining a secure and sustainable source of high quality water well into the foreseeable future. The rhetoric has increasingly overcome the reality, and has led to inaction. Rather than just blame politicians, the Forum accepts the political realities and the challenges this political landscape brings. So what is causing this water crisis? Maybe our politicians are reluctant to say that they just don’t know… And maybe, the people that they have been listening to for don’t know as well. Is it possible that people from the San Joaquin Valley might know a little something about how to not only “fix” – but, “solve” these problems?