Agricultural leaders and local elected officials in Central California are calling it “do or die” time as efforts are ramping up to get a water bond on the November ballot in California.

Officials say billions of dollars must be spent to keep California cities and farms from drying up and dying.

San Joaquin Valley elected officials and agricultural leaders took to the steps of Fresno City Hall Wednesday morning to call on the legislature and California Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr. to support a $9.8 billion water bond measure that legislative leaders are currently debating and must pass within the next couple weeks if it’s going to make it to the November election.

The hastily-called press conference came after reports were published that Brown wrote a letter earlier this month to campaign supporters calling for a fat-free water bond totaling $6 billion.

“That just won’t do what we need,” said Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League. Cunha called Brown’s $6 billion proposal “a slap in the face” to agriculture and local communities.

Ready to go on the November ballot is an $11.14 billion water bond measure passed by the legislature in 2009. That bond was pulled just before the Nov. 2009 election for a host of political reasons.

California agriculture has pushed to get that bond back on the ballot at every possible election since then, but the legislature has repeatedly punted the measure to the next possible election.