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Opinion: California Has a New Plan for the Delta but Faces the Same Conflicts Over Water

California’s water warriors have a new arena for their perpetual conflict over the allocation of the state’s ever-evolving supply – a nearly 6,000-page proposal from the state Water Resources Control Board.

The draft essentially calls for sharp reductions in diversions from the Sacramento River and its tributaries to allow more water to flow through the environmentally troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Opinion: Socal’s Water Planning Offers Lesson for State

Another historic drought has gripped the West and California, with the entire state facing abnormally dry conditions and 87% of it facing an extreme drought, according to the latest federal data. Yet Southern Californians are in far better shape to handle the situation than Northern Californians thanks to policies that southern water agencies have adopted.

Two-thirds of the state’s rain falls in Northern California, which has one-third of the state’s population — and vice versa. Yet many northern cities are running out of water, with several San Francisco Bay Area communities already adopting water rationing and water-use restrictions. This isn’t happenstance, but the result of planning — or lack thereof.

Drought: Emergency Project Being Built to Protect California Water Supplies

In a new symbol of California’s worsening drought, construction crews are putting the finishing touches on a $10 million emergency project to build a massive rock barrier through part of the Delta in Contra Costa County to preserve water supplies for millions of people across the state.

The 800-foot long barrier — the size of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid laid on its side — is essentially a rock wall, 120 feet wide, built in water 35 feet deep.

Its purpose: To block salt water from the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay from flowing too far east and contaminating the huge state and federal pumps near Tracy that send fresh water south to 27 million people — from San Jose to Los Angeles — and to millions of acres of farmland in the Central Valley and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Takes Action on Water Exports from the Delta

Construction of a temporary salinity barrier on the False River is underway after an emergency request by the Department of Water Resources was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The barrier, necessitated by worsening drought conditions, is intended to help preserve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by reducing saltwater intrusion. The declaration of a drought emergency made by Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 10 suspended the requirement that a project of this nature complete a California Environmental Quality Act assessment.

State Plans $30 Million Wall to Stop Saltwater Intrusion into Delta – Drought Fallout

In the latest chapter of California’s unfolding drought, state officials are planning to build a giant rock wall across a river in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to save the vital freshwater estuary from San Francisco Bay’s saltwater.

Opinion: New Priorities Needed for California’s Next Drought

A series of key decisions await Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state heads back into a potential drought.

So this seems like the right moment to review what happened last time: Water was prioritized for big agriculture at the expense of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, endangered species and California communities. The State Water Board, in a review of the drought of 2014-15, found operations “not sustainable.”

A Tiny Fish is on the Brink of Extinction. Does it Matter that Another Just Like It is Thriving?

California’s tiny delta smelt is not a terribly impressive fish at first glance, and not really at second glance either. It’s about the length and width of a finger, silvery and kind of see-through – looks a bit like a sardine.

State’s Largest Water District Ignores Tribes, Conservationists, Ratepayers on Delta Tunnel

The Metropolitan Water District’s board of directors voted Tuesday to spend another $58 million to support the study and design of an underground tunnel in the North Delta that would divert large amounts of fresh water and send it to municipalities and agribusinesses in southern California.

Zero Delta Smelt Found in Latest Search. New Habitat Hopes to Change That

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty.

The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl Survey found no delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. The last time the rare fish turned up in a survey was in October 2017 when just two were found. Hoping to reverse the recent trend, the Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced the completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

Opinion: Delta Tunnel Project Would Secure California’s Water Future

The Delta Conveyance Project is a necessary investment to secure California’s water future. Let’s face it, our climate is changing rapidly and becoming more unpredictable – wildfires are larger and more frequent, the seas are rising, droughts are lasting longer and storms are fiercer. The need for this project has never been clearer.