California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent executive order requiring 25% water reduction for all residents highlighted the severity of our current drought. Central Valley residents know all too well that our drought situation is crippling the agriculture industry and leaving communities without access to clean water for basic functions like drinking, cooking and bathing. The first-of-its-kind water conservation mandate sounded the alarm to some Californians who aren’t as impacted by the crushing drought and alerted the rest of the country of our plight.
The timing of the executive order couldn’t have been better. With all eyes on California, Fresno County’s “One Voice” advocacy team set off for Washington, D.C., to lobby for water and other issues. The Fresno Chamber once again had a representative on the two dozen-person team which consisted of elected leaders, organizations and private businesses. The group met with congressmen, senators, White House staff, and many others over the course of three days to convey a unified message about the urgent need for water immediately, along with legislation to build water storage and change federal law that restricts pumping. The advocacy effort received local and national media coverage.
The Fresno Chamber also participated in the R.E.A.L. Coalition’s Advocacy Day in Sacramento on April 21st to encourage legislators to speed up the delivery of water bond project funding and develop long term solutions to solve the state’s water needs. Other issues included transportation, early education and economic competitiveness. The R.E.A.L. Coalition is comprised of business groups and chambers of commerce from the ten largest cities in California.
The Fresno Chamber is engaged with government at every level to advocate for the needs of its business members year-round. Water is a top priority, but the chamber monitors many issues to make sure the voice of the business community is heard.