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Local organization helps fish and farmers

By Vienna Montague, Producer
Published On: Mar 12 2014 09:00:03 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

A Northern California organization is working to help fish and farmers during the state’s historic drought.

They call themselves The Family Water Alliance.

The organization has been around for nearly twenty years, according to Chief Operating Officer Nadine Bailey.

Bailey said it was formed to promote family farms and educate people on private property rights, and during this drought, their mission has become difficult.

“Right now farmers are facing some horrendous choices. We’re looking at a drop in some cases, just 40 percent of the water delivered to farmland.”

One of their methods of protecting fish and farmland are fish screens.

Fish screens are already in place at the pumps on the Sacramento River in Redding, and the intake for the Bella Vista Water District.

It keeps the fish in the river, but still allows growers to get the water to their crops.

“Issues like the Delta Smelt, we hear about how pumps are sucking up this endangered species,” Bailey said. “That happens on a smaller scale all over irrigated farmland, so what we do is try to go in and find partners, put the screens in, then we protect the fish, we protect the farmland.”

Bailey said we’ve got to conserve in every way we can, because soon, it won’t just be the farmers who are feeling the brunt of the drought.

“If California really wants to continue getting water in the tap, water storage is the answer to the drought problem. We have to build more storage; we have to start improving our infrastructure," Bailey said.