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'Free-For-All' at Fresno's First Water Forum

'Free-For-All' at Fresno's First Water Forum

Nearly 200 Fresno residents gathered at a local high school for the first of four scheduled “water forums” on Monday night, where individuals voiced their concerns and proposed long and short-term solutions to the city’s water crisis.

However, according to the Fresno Bee, the only item everyone could agree on was that the city needs more water. After that, the forum devolved into a “free-for-all.”

According to the Bee, residents proposed a myriad of differing solutions to the city’s short and long-term water needs. One suggested the city rely on desalination plants. Another suggested more recharge basins were needed in the city. Still another suggested that farmers use too much water, while others argued that suburban homes were to blame for overuse.

“We need to solve this problem, no doubt about it,” former Fresno County Supervisor Doug Vagim told the Bee. “The other forums will be interesting, too.”

Vagim was instrumental in the creation of the water forums. Last summer, the Fresno City Council voted to enact increases in water rates for consumers in order to fund a $410 million upgrade to the city water system. Vagim went door-to-door and obtained enough signatures to appeal the Council’s planned rate increases. The Council repealed the rate hikes, but made the water forums a requirement as part of its decision.

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