BY KEN CARLSON, The Modesto Bee
August 20, 2018 04:36 PM
A boisterous rally Monday sent a message to the state to keep its hands off the water rights of communities in the Central Valley and reconsider a new water allocation plan that won’t be effective in restoring salmon in rivers.
About 1,500 attended the gathering outside the state Capitol Building organized by leaders from Stanislaus and Merced counties. People held signs and chanted “stop the water grab” in an outpouring of passion against an appointed state water board that proposes to take double the amount of water from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers and use it for salmon restoration.
The water stored in Don Pedro, McClure and New Melones reservoirs is the lifeblood of farm-belt communities including Modesto and Merced and small towns like Hughson.
The participants, coming from counties that lack political clout, came to make noise on the Capitol steps. And nothing made harmonic noise like the Atwater High School marching band, led by director Michael Flores.