By Don A. Wright
The month of May in California’s Central Valley brings an acceleration of activity with it. In most years (we’ll find out more in the next week or so if this year will continue to go against the grain) May marks the end of significant wet weather. For allergy sufferers the pollen count drops from Def Con Five to something more manageable. There’s more certainty to water allocations and irrigation starts. Temperatures grow and so do crops. The fabric of sleeves and inseams retreat inward and upward like blossoms falling away to reveal the new fruit of arms and legs receiving sunshine. And we all know it will soon be hot and we’ll all hear more climate change alarms and go about our business with purpose instead of fear. People have to eat.
May also brings out events. There is a slight lull in the circle of farm life that allows folks to roam freely across the land, especially now in the post-dark or Sino-Cooties time. There are three significant events related to agriculture and one more fast approaching.
In their order of appearance:
The California Water Alliance will be holding its third-annual fundraiser/panel discussion/forum in Fresno on the question “Is the Drought Really Over?” At 11:30am on Thursday, May 4th you can gather at Harris Construction’s impressive headquarters located 5286 East Home Avenue, just south of the Fresno Irrigation District canal that runs parallel with McKinley Avenue by the Fresno International Airport.
Lunch will be served while Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau moderates a panel which includes: Congressman John Duarte, Westland Water District’s new General Manager Allison Febbo, Cannon Michael Chairman of the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority/Bowles Farming Company and the possibility of additional panelists.
Harris Farms’ William Bourdeau is the Chairman of the California Water Alliance and the driving force promoting that organization. Pervious forums have yielded some think outside the box, provocative discussions and help inform choices for the future.
Duarte Nursery hosts an annual May get together appropriately called “Friends Day.” For the past 24- years, making this the 25th annual, there is a party/farm show taking place near Modesto. Bonus: if you’re driving Highway 99 from the south you don’t have to drive through Modesto itself on Highway 99, which has become an ever increasing traffic snarl. The address is: Duarte Nursery1555 Baldwin Road, Hughson California 95326.
I went for the first time last year and found the event practices truth in advertising. It was very friendly. There was great food featuring two out of three of nature’s perfect food groups – Mexican and BBQ, only thing missing was Cajun cuisine. There were lots and lots of exhibitors, enough to keep you engaged with new products and services, but not so many you can’t make the rounds. Duarte Friends Day has become a favorite. If you haven’t taken advantage of enriching your life by attending, you should. Does that sound grandiose? Maybe a little bit. I survived a few decades on this planet without even knowing about Duarte Nursery, let alone Friends Day. But now that I’ve attended, I can recommend it and hope to see you there. Also it’s free for attendees.
The Association of California Water Agencies is holding its Spring 2023 Conference & Expo at the Monterey Conference Center. I’ve been to a few ACWA conferences, they rotate from place to place and the Monterey location is a winner. Lots of stuff at an ACWA conference, education and information and for some continuing education units for professional certification. And there are those who display their wares and services, as part of the proceedings is for all purposes a trade show.
However, I’ve come to believe the top two reasons for attending an ACWA conference is networking and eating. That’s why Monterey is such a great venue, if you like seafood. Various entities throw dinners and receptions and mixers. CalDesal is having a mixer on Wednesday, May 10th and for the first time WaterWrights.net is able to help sponsor this opportunity to meet new people and strengthen the ties that bind with those you already know.
The topics presented at the various workshops and programs range from helpful information to some thought provoking statements that grab the eye. For instance, we all know California’s water infrastructure has atrophied, not just agricultural conveyance. There will be a program about going beyond the standard design-bid-build process. Ideas like “progressive” design-build and public-private partnerships will be explored. Does progressive design build mean only woke contractors can be hired or the design build is incremental, I don’t know, we’ll have to attend to find out. Unless it’s one of the recorded presentations and I think it is so you may be able to watch in online sometime later.
Here’s a couple of interesting ones: The Communications Committee is putting on the “Reporters Notebook: An Insider’s Guide to Working with News Media.” Sounds like a good session for anyone involved in public relations. Oh, oh, here’s a scary one: “The Business Proposition for Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI).” This is going to be interesting to see. I’ve written a bit about diversity inclusion and equity (DIE) and between Bud Light’s marketing flop, Professor Thomas Sowell’s assertions that result oriented industries don’t have the luxury of warm fuzzies for feel good sake and rapid backstepping from environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing like that of FXT’s Sam Bankman-Fried – well it should be more than just interesting to hear what they have to say.
There will be roundtable discussions about removing barriers to groundwater recharge, how to talk about drought and climate change, creating win/win solutions to expediting permitting and advancing conveyance. But really, the time to meet with others in the water world is probably the most invaluable asset offered at an ACWA conference.
Finally, the one non-water event I want to share with you is the Fiesta de los Ninos to be held on Saturday from 6-11pm on May 20th at The Grand on The Bluffs, 7855 North Palm Avenue in Fresno. This is a fund raiser to benefit children and their families served by Exceptional Parents Unlimited. EPU is a Fresno based organization that works with families with children facing extraordinary medical, developmental and parenting challenges.
This is the 30th annual Fiesta and there will be a silent auction, dancing and dinner. I don’t know these guys. Never heard of them. So why am I including them here? Because I know Paul Peschel and he asked me to do so. Maybe you know Paul too. He was the General Manager at the Kings River Conservation District and was always willing to help me understand things better. Sometimes that takes a lot of patience, so I think he deserves a request to help some folks who need help.
There are probably many other events and happenings this month and I hope you get to enjoy them all. God bless the rain and snow and may He bless a slow spring runoff.
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