March 5, 1998
UFW President Rodriguez will unveil a
‘Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs’ water
initiative for the fall 1998 ballot
Vowing "to preserve the viability of agriculture in the Pajaro Valley" for everyone whose job depends on agriculture, United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez Thursday will kick off a campaign to place an initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot phasing out the overdraft of water in the Pajaro Basin by the year 2013.
Entitled, "Stop the Salt, Save our Jobs," Rodriguez says the UFW-sponsored drive is aimed at halting saltwater intrusion that threatens the future of farm, canary and food processing workers "plus all the individual residential and commercial ratepayers who rely on a viable water supply in this Valley." He says the gravest threat to "all of agriculture in this region is the severe overdraft of water in the Pajaro Basin and the resulting intrusion of seawater."
WHO: United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez and area farm workers.
WHAT: Describing threats from the overdraft of water and resulting saltwater intrusion in the Pajaro Basin, and unveiling the "Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs" initiative.
WHEN: 12:30 p.m., Thursday, March 5, 1998.
WHERE: Watsonville Community Center, 120 West Second St. (two blocks west of Main St.)
The text of the measure, which will be filed this month with the Pajaro Valley Water Management District (PVWMD), as well as background materials will be available at the news conference.
Last week, Assemblymember Mike Honda (D-San Jose) introduced AB 2344, a UFW- sponsored measure deleting provisions of state law allowing agricultural interests to dominate three of the seven seats on the PVWMD and requiring that 51% of the income of those holding the positions be derived from agriculture. It is aimed at "opening up local decision making on water issues to more democratic participation by farm workers and the public," Rodriguez says.
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ARTURO S. RODRIGUEZ, PRESIDENT
UNITED FARM WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIOAnnouncing "Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs" Initiative
March 5, 1998-Watsonville, Calif.
Announcing "Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs" Initiative
March 5, 1998-Watsonville, Calif.
Today we kick off the "Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs" initiative that the United Farm Workers is placing before voters in the Pajaro Valley Water Management District for the November 3 ballot. We are here to issue an appeal for the general public to join us in this vital campaign to preserve the viability of agriculture in the Pajaro Valley.
Farm workers aren’t the only ones whose future is threatened by salt water intrusion. Canary workers, food processing workers, everyone whose job depends on agriculture-plus all the individual residential and commercial ratepayers who rely on a viable water supply in this Valley-have a stake in what we’re doing today.
Our opponents claim the United Farm Workers is out to destroy the strawberry industry. This UFW-sponsored water initiative proves they’re wrong. That’s because the gravest threat to the strawberry industry-and allof agriculture in this region-is the severe overdraft of water in the Pajaro Basin and the resulting intrusion of seawater.
The UFW has already brought improvements for workers in the strawberry industry. However, further improvements from union contracts will be in vain if saltwater intrusion makes the water unfit for farming strawberries or other crops.
All farm workers have a vital interest in preserving the water upon which their livelihoods depend. The future of farming and farm worker jobs depend on enacting this "Stop the Salt-Save Our Jobs" measure.
These charts illustrate the threat from overdraft and saltwater intrusion.
* With proper management, the Pajaro Basin can safely yield 50,000 acre feet of water a year. But on average, 68,000 acre feet of water is drawn from the Pajaro Basin each year. Thirty-six percent more water is taken out of the basin annually than is returned to it.
* Seawater is moving inland at an alarming rate. Many crops grown in the Pajaro Valley are sensitive to chlorides; strawberries are among the most sensitive.
As seawater contaminates wells, crop yields will drop, farms will be forced to close and thousands of farm worker jobs will be destroyed. Strawberry workers are likely to be among the hardest hit.
The Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs initiative is designed to halt seawater intrusion and prohibit the importing of state water without a vote of the people. It is very simple.
-Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs would require the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency to adopt measures that phase out overdraft in the Pajaro Basin by the year 2013. To achieve that end, the initiative directs the agency to focus on creating and implementing groundwater conservation measures.
We do not seek to micro-manage the agency. The initiative’s chief aim is to clearly direct the district down a new path towards halting the overdraft, mostly through conservation measures.
-Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs would forbid the agency from entering into any contract with the state or federal governments to import water from the State Water Project or the Central Valley Project-or forcing district residents to pay for such water-without approval from district voters.
-Finally, Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs would require the agency to study the feasibility of local measures such as alternative supply sources and methods to promote water conservation.
We expect to be collecting signatures to place the Stop the Salt, Save Our Jobs initiative on the fall ballot during the months of April and May.
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