The 24th Annual meeting for the California Cotton Growers Association held at Harris Ranch on March 13th, 2014 was one for the record books! The Growers Association estimated over 170 people in attendance and filled the room from end to end. The high turnout was in large part due to the perfectly timed cast of guest speakers as a myriad of recent California water woes in the news have brought several California water agencies into the spotlight.
The cast of speakers on water quality and water quantity included Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board; Gary Bardini, Deputy Director, Department of Water Resources; Pablo Aroyave, Reg. Deputy Director – Mid Pacific Region, USBR. Each speaker addressed the current issues at their respective agencies and fielded questions from concerned attendees.
Marcus, chair of the SWRCB, noted her agency’s action in doing all they can to ease burdensome regulations and continue to try to move water but admitted that certain conditions including limiting the salinity in the delta for “health and safety” concerns would not be trumped, to which Aroyave echoed. In addition, Marcus touched on groundwater challenges and prioritized clean drinking water as the heart of the issue.
Both the State and Federal Directors focused on current and historical hydrologic conditions and addressed the seriousness of the drought and it’s implications to agriculture, urban, and environmental users.
This year’s annual meeting was an excellent platform for growers to voice their concerns in regards to water quality, water quantity, and the plague of inaction that has prevented any real movement. Equally important was for growers to hear what actions or positions the agencies would take in the coming months.
As always, the California Cotton Growers Association will continue to press upon these agencies the need for urgency and the huge implications their actions or inactions have not just toward California cotton growers but the whole agricultural industry, consumers, and other related businesses!