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‘The Fight for Water’

Film documents Central Valley irrigation crisis of 2009

‘The Fight for Water’

The film, “The Fight for Water,” documents the 2009 march from Mendota to the banks of the San Luis Reservoir to raise awareness of the water crisis.

POSTED September 26, 2012 12:39 p.m.

The year was 2009 and most of the Central Valley was in the midst of a water crisis.

The flow of irrigation water to many farming regions south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta had slowed to a trickle, forcing farmers to abandon or leave unplanted more than 100,000 acres of agricultural land. This water shortage had a devastating financial impact on farm owners, farm workers and those businesses that rely on agricultural dollars.

When a four-day, 50 mile march  from Mendota to the banks of the San Luis Reservoir was planned in an effort to raise awareness of the water crisis, local filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera knew he had to get involved.

“When I went to film the march, the struggle of the people hit me,” Oseguera said. “I come from  a community of migrant farm workers — my parents are migrant farm workers — I knew the struggle.”

What started out as a short film project for Oseguera, quickly turned into the Firebaugh resident’s first full-length documentary.

“Once I started talking to farmers, it took on a life of its own,” he said.

The film, “The Fight for Water,” documents the crisis from the perspective of Valley farmers George Delgado and Joe Del Bosque, showing their impacted lands and the devastation to their communities.

The Mendota-San Luis Reservoir march is featured prominently in the film, as are speeches from the time of the march from Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressman Jim Costa, Devin Nunes, George Miller, Former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson, Ray Appleton and Lupita Lomeli and comedian turned activist Paul Rodriguez.

The film will be shown at the ITSA Film Festival held Nov. 2-4 in Sonora. Viewings in Modesto, Fresno and other Central Valley locations are in the works; visit for information on future showings.

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