SACRAMENTO Several dozen Mayors, elected officials and dignitaries representing all regions of California will announced the creation of the California Latino Water Coalition (CLWC) alongside California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press conference on the east steps of the Capital. The CLWC is a statewide coalition of influential Latino leaders who support the development of additional water resources in California.
“When there is water, we are successful in creating jobs, economic influence and opportunity for the Latino community,” said Orange Cove Mayor Victor P. Lopez. “When there is no water, Latinos bear the burden of unemployment, economic disadvantage and hardship.”
Agriculture workers from Central California who were displaced by this winter’s freeze that destroyed millions of dollars of citrus will also be on hand to support the creation of the Coalition.
“I grew up in the Central Valley and live in Los Angeles and I know first hand that the prosperity or distress of much of California, including hundreds of thousands of Latinos, hinges on the agriculture industry and water supply,” said comedian, actor and Coalition chairperson Paul Rodriguez. “In years like this one, there is not enough water to prevent the damage that comes from a freeze or a drought. Latinos bear a greater share of the burden. We need to support the Governor and Senate Bill 59.”
Senate Bill 59 is authored by State Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) and includes Governor Schwarzenegger’s Water Infrastructure Upgrades Bond Proposal. It supports water enhancements across the state and construction of major new surface storage facilities.
This bill includes $2 billion in general obligation bonds for the construction of new water surface storage facilities Sites Reservoir (Sacramento Valley) and Temperance Flats (near Fresno). This is a major part of a comprehensive package of $6 billion in water bonds sought by a bipartisan group of legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger aimed at developing new ground storage and surface storage sites.
California’s population has grown by 15 million in the last 25 years. There has been no new construction of reservoirs in the same timeframe. Looking ahead, this could put a major strain on the economy and livelihood for millions of Latinos in the Central Valley as well as residents across the whole state.