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How A ‘Death Trap’ For Fish In California’s Water System Is Limiting The Pumping Of Supplies

Giant pumps hum inside a warehouse-like building, pushing water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta into the California Aqueduct, where it travels more than 400 miles south to the taps of over half the state’s population.

But lately the powerful motors at the Harvey O. Banks Pumping Plant have been running at reduced capacity, despite a second year of drought-busting snow and rain.

The reason: So many threatened fish have died at the plant’s intake reservoir and pumps that it has triggered federal protections and forced the state to pump less water.

Opinion: Future of California at Risk the Longer Landmark CEQA Environmental Law Remains Unchanged

Like our changing climate and its many impacts on our communities, economy and environment; like the collapse of critical infrastructure; like the humanitarian homelessness crisis on our streets and the housing shortage driving it; like so many other slow-motion disasters that have befallen us, the warning signs have been unmistakably clear.