Wednesday , May 22 2024

A Look Back At President Obama's Valley Visit One Year Ago, Did it Help the Water Crisis?

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<p>It has been a year since President Obama came to the Central Valley, offering up some much needed drought relief. Many in the valley say unfortunately not much has changed.&nbsp; They say things may be worse because they Valley is still missing what it needs most; water.</p><p>Valley farmer Joe Del Bosque says, &quot;I wish I could tell him, ‘Look Mr. President, we’re still in the same situation.&nbsp; Nothing got done.’ &quot;</p><p>One year ago Del Bosque met with President Obama, taking him for a tour around his fallowed land in Los Banos.&nbsp; One year later, that land is still unplanted.</p><p>&quot;It’s de ja vu,&quot; says Del Bosque.</p><p>Del Bosque says his hopes were high.</p><p>&quot;We have probably gotten a little more rain, but not that much more hope,&quot; says Del Bosque.</p><p>The president’s visit was a huge production.&nbsp; After landing at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, he stopped in Firebaugh where he met with key valley farmers and water advocates.</p><p>Mario Santoyo with the Latino Water Coalition says, &quot;Anybody that would have been in that meeting is disappointed.&quot;</p><p>Santoyo says a lot was on the table at that roundtable discussion.&nbsp; Farmers talked about&nbsp; the desperation the drought had caused, the farm workers who didn’t have work and the suffering families.&nbsp; President Obama made a promise to help saying, &quot;We are going to stay on top of this.&quot;</p><p>According to Santoyo, the president and his administration didn’t follow through.</p><p>&quot;You would hope that if you have your nation’s top leader in your area that somehow he would put some focus on trying to make things better,&quot; says Santoyo.</p><p>Millions of dollars in funding was set aside for drought relief, which brought some assistance for livestock feed and food banks.&nbsp; The Community Food Bank in Fresno says it never received any federal money; rather some USDA products, including canned food.</p><p>Manuel Cunha with the Nisei Farmer’s League says, &quot;Nothing has really been accomplished and I don’t mean to be rude to the president or disrespectful to the president.&quot;</p><p>Congressman Devin Nunes says he believes the president used the valley visit to further a different agenda.</p><p>Congressman Nunes, (R-22nd district), says, &quot;He used the drought to make his global warming speech and did nothing to find a solution.&quot;</p><p>Last week, the federal bureau of reclamation announced nearly 20 million dollars in funding for the Central Valley Water Project; addressing Delta and groundwater issues.</p><p>While many farmers did appreciate the attention the president’s visit brought a year ago, they say it didn’t accomplish much and say this is a battle they will continue to fight on their own.</p><p>&quot;Does the president need to come out again?&nbsp; No. That isn’t going to help,&quot; says Cunha.</p><p>According to officials with the California Department of Resources, in the past year more than $17 million has been set aside for drought relief and water projects in the Central Valley.&nbsp; On top of that, Andy Souza with the Community Food Bank says the state also provided 90,000 boxes of foods to feed families in rural Valley communities.<br /></p></div>

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