Two years ago, the amount of water in the massive Diamond Valley Lake was … well, not so massive. Able to hold 810,000 acre-feet of water, an extended drought had dropped storage at the reservoir near Hemet to 299,638 acre-feet in March 2016 — and it was that high due to conservation efforts. The water level dropped so low, private fishing boats were banned for 13 months. Even after extending the marina’s long boat ramp, it ended at dirt, not water. Islands and rock piles began popping out of the lake’s surface.
Archive for date: July 14th, 2017
Even when snowbound and inaccessible to vehicles, the rustic Tioga Pass Resort on the crest of the Sierra Nevada range offered homemade pie, a wood-burning stove and plump sofas to relax on after a day of backcountry skiing. But the winter of 2017 was more than the log cabin lodge, just two miles east of Yosemite National Park, could bear. Trails, roads and campgrounds throughout the Sierra high country were hit hard by snow and runoff from one of the largest snowpacks in recorded history, leaving public agencies scrambling and summer visitors feeling lost.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is 435 miles from South Orange County, but the impact of what happens there is felt as close to home as your shower. The Delta is the heart of the State Water Project. Near Stockton, the Delta is where the tidal forces of the Pacific Ocean meet the outflows of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. Water flows through the Delta before entering a series of reservoirs, pumps and canals that bring water from the Sierras to Southern California.
In June, two federal agencies gave their blessings to the controversial project to build two water conveyance tunnels under California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Environmental groups promptly sounded the alarm that the state’s so-named WaterFix project would not, as its backers claim, solve the matrix of problems plaguing the Delta and the people and creatures relying on it. The existing pumps that export Delta water have drastically upset the balance of the estuary’s ecosystem, causing fish declines and the intrusion of saltwater from San Francisco Bay.