Devastating economic consequences seen from proposal to slash water sent down three rivers

July 10, 2018 – –Elaine Trevino, President, Almond Alliance of California, issued the following statement following the State Water Resources Control Board’s release Friday, July 6, 2018 of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan’s Supplemental Environmental Document (SED)

The State Water Resources Control Board’s decision to demand twice as much water flow down the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers in a purported effort to save salmon is an attack on the California agricultural industry and threatens the economic well-being of the San Joaquin Valley. Water is the life blood of our economy and farmers have made significant investments in community infrastructure, such as recycled water projects, recharging aquifers, and adopting state of the art irrigation practices to conserve this valuable natural resource.  The Almond Alliance will continue to fight to preserve the economic security of the Central Valley.

State water board staff ignored testimony from a wide range of water experts about the fallacy of their final staff plan. This decision flies in the face of an overwhelming amount of science that the approach of putting more water down the river simply has no merit. The Board’s unimpaired flow strategy does nothing to address major stressors in the system, such as the loss of habitat for native species and predators who have gained a strong foothold on the Delta.

The Alliance formally commented at a public workshop in March 2017 pointing out the economic benefits of the almond industry and the potential economic consequences that could result from the water diversions. The farm-gate value of California almonds was $5.3 billion in the 2015-16 crop year. Through farming, manufacturing and associated industries, the California almond industry creates over 104,000 jobs throughout the state with 97,000 jobs in the Central Valley, an otherwise economically depressed region.

Simply put, this proposal by the state water board will not save salmon but it will have devastating consequences on not just almond growers but all San Joaquin Valley farmers and countless other workers who benefit from the ripple effect of its economic activity.

The final public comment period is now open until July 27, with final adoption scheduled for Aug. 21. The Almond Alliance will remain vigilant and tell our story in Sacramento about how California almond growers contribute greatly to this area’s economic health while continuing to exercise wise stewardship over our precious water resources.

About the Almond Alliance of California

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) was formerly the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and is a trusted non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Almond industry in California. AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handers and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes.  Through workshops, newsletters, conferences and meetings, AAC serves as a clearing house of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.