Since 1993, Farming Has Suffered in Central Valley

Mario Santoyo: Good Years are Gone

Mario Santoyo served as Assistant Manager for 30 years on their Friant Water user’s authority has been fighting for water for decades. He said he remembers better times when it comes to South of the Delta farming. Those good years were prior to 1993 when the Delta Smelt was put on the Federal Endangered Species List.

“I remember the good years. I was around during those days, but I’ve now lived through what is now, the hard years,” said Santoyo. “The unfortunate fact is that there will no longer be good years, it will only be worse years because for those folks that think it’s bad right now, they’re wrong. It’s going to get worse.”

And the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is going to making farming worse.

SGMA is structured in such a way that the Department of Water Resources saying, “Okay, we’ll let you have local control, you guys formed the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSAs),” said Santoyo.

“We’ll let you do your thing, but if you don’t do it right, we’re going to come in as the state of California and we’re going to take over,” said Santoyo.

“And the way it’s structured is that there’s a high probability that most GSAs are going to fail, which is going to let the state through the door and once the state gets their hands on regulating water, it’s goodbye in terms of having any kind of control on the usage of water,” noted Santoyo. “So things will only get worse as we move through time,” he said.