The Delta has been embroiled in controversy about how to restore a faltering ecosystem while maintaining its role as the hub of the state’s water supply.
Issues include improving water system management, estuary health, conservation efforts to protect the endangered Delta smelt, levee fragility and the proposed twin tunnels, which will be put on a statewide ballot in the future.
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.
Our floodplain reforestation projects are biodiversity hotspots and climate-protection powerhouses that cost far less than old-fashioned gray infrastructure of levees, dams and reservoirs. They provide highly-effective flood safety by strategically spreading floodwater. Floodplain forests combat the effects of drought by recharging groundwater and increasing freshwater supply.
The California Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit to block by the State Water Resources Control Board’s plans for the lower river flow of San Joaquin River. In a press release, the Farm Bureau said that the Board’s plan , which was adopted last December, “misrepresents and underestimates the harm it would cause to agricultural resources in the Central Valley”.
As his term as governor drew to a close, Jerry Brown brokered a historic agreement among farms and cities to surrender billions of gallons of water to help ailing fish. He also made two big water deals with the Trump administration. It added up to a dizzying display of deal-making. Yet as Gavin Newsom takes over as governor, the state of water in California seems as unsettled as ever.
The paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Management, suggests that eliminating outdoor landscaping and lawns could reduce water waste by 30 percent. It recommends importing water only when Los Angeles is not in a drought, to build a surplus of water for dry years. The paper also argues that groundwater basins that catch stormwater could be used to recycle water. However, making these improvements would require the cooperation of more than 100 agencies.
New California Gov. Gavin Newsom has previously said he favors a scaled-down Delta tunnel project. Whether he reappoints state water board chair Felicia Marcus will signal whether he wants the board to stand firm or back down on the flow requirements. His picks for top posts in the Natural Resources Agency will determine whether his administration goes along with a potential weakening of delta protections by the Trump administration — or fights it.
Prompted by the collapse of fish populations, the State Water Resources Control Board is trying to prevent humans from totally drying up these rivers each year. The regulators’ lodestar for how much water the rivers need is the amount of water a Chinook salmon needs to migrate.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday backed a bid by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to extend provisions in a 2016 bill to shuttle more water from the Golden State’s wet north to farms and cities in the arid south.
On Dec. 20, the Delta Stewardship Council will vote to determine whether the tunnels project — officially known as California WaterFix — complies with what’s known as the “Delta Plan,” a set of policy goals, mandated by state law, that put protection and restoration of the fragile estuary’s eco-system on an equal footing with more reliable water supplies.
A long-debated water plan that could change the course—literally—of water in California, will be up for a vote by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) next month. Originally scheduled for November, the vote has been postponed until December 11, per California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newson’s request.
In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.
This month’s elections may have mortally wounded California’s chances for a long-delayed $23 billion water tunnel project. … The project’s biggest cheerleader, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), is leaving office because of term limits and his successor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), lacks’ Brown’s enthusiasm for the tunnels.
President Trump claimed Tuesday that California mismanages its water resources, dismissing the possibility of drought and accusing the state of sending water out to sea that could be used to help farmers in the Central Valley. Trump also threatened to withhold federal disaster dollars from California, which he incorrectly claimed is impeding firefighters’ access to water during wildfires.
One of our most popular events, our annual Water 101 Workshop details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state.
Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop on Feb. 7 gave attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resoures.
Optional Groundwater Tour
On Feb. 8, we jumped aboard a bus to explore groundwater, a key resource in California. Led by Foundation staff and groundwater experts Thomas Harter and Carl Hauge, retired DWR chief hydrogeologist, the tour visited cities and farms using groundwater, examined a subsidence measuring station and provided the latest updates on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
The Colorado River Basin is more than likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told an audience of California water industry people.
During a keynote address at the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento, Burman said there is opportunity for Colorado River Basin states to control their destiny, but acknowledged that in water, there are no guarantees that agreement can be reached.
Gavin Newsom and John Cox both drive zero-emission Teslas. That’s about where the common ground ends between California’s candidates for governor when it comes to the environment. … Cox opposes as a “boondoggle” [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s $17 billion proposal to move water from Northern California to Southern California through twin tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … Newsom backs a one-tunnel option as more cost-effective.
California’s proposal to construct two massive tunnels underneath the Delta northwest of the city to divert Sacramento River water south would “devastate” Stockton and other communities in and around the Delta, especially what a new report refers to as “environmental justice communities” that often have been ignored in the discussion around the tunnels.
Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.
And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.
The estimated cost of the Delta tunnels project, Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to re-engineer the troubled hub of California’s water network, has jumped to nearly $20 billion when accounting for inflation.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in remediation.
The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent native to South America that causes concern because of its propensity to devour every bit of vegetation in sight and destabilize levees by burrowing into them. Wildlife officials are trapping the animal and trying to learn the extent of its infestation.
Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Gov. Jerry Brown warned local water agency officials throughout California on Thursday that unless the delta tunnels project gets needed state and federal permits soon and continues advancing, the major infrastructure project may not happen in their lifetime.
After a five-hour packed public hearing, the board of Silicon Valley’s largest water provider late Wednesday night put off a closely watched vote until next week on whether to provide up to $650 million to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water south.
A decision by California’s largest water supplier on April 10 ended months of uncertainty over its role in the funding of California Water Fix, the state’s plan to build new water conveyance infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Financing is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. There is still a long list of regulatory and legal hurdles the project needs to clear.
The “triple threat” of invasive rodent species has made its way to the edge of the delta, officials said, putting the state’s fragile water infrastructure at risk. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that it had discovered the nutria, a large rat-like mammal that inhabits wet, rural areas, on agricultural land west of Stockton.
The destructive invasive swamp rodents known as nutria are officially on the doorstep of one of the state’s most critically important waterways. State wildlife officials announced Tuesday that a nutria was killed on agricultural land west of Stockton in San Joaquin County.
When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to finance the lion’s share of the delta tunnels project, some on the board called it a bold stroke of leadership. The delegations from Los Angeles and San Diego, however, called the move alarming, financially risky and irresponsible.
The largest water district in California agreed Tuesday to fork over nearly $11 billion to build two tunnels that will siphon water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a major boost for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project.
Does California need to revamp the way in which water is dedicated to the environment to better protect fish and the ecosystem at large? In the hypersensitive world of California water, where differences over who gets what can result in epic legislative and legal battles, the idea sparks a combination of fear, uncertainty and promise.
Saying that the way California manages water for the environment “isn’t working for anyone,” the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shook things up late last year by proposing a redesigned regulatory system featuring what they described as water ecosystem plans and water budgets with allocations set aside for the environment.
Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.
You might wish you had as much power to affect the environment and the economy as the delta smelt. Enemies have blamed the tiny freshwater fish for putting farmers out of business across California’s breadbasket, forcing the fallowing of vast acres of arable land, creating double-digit unemployment in agricultural counties, even clouding the judgment of scientists and judges.
Deepen your knowledge of California water issues at our popular Water 101 Workshop and jump aboard the bus the next day to visit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource.
A throng of people, nearly 200 strong, came to this delta town Thursday, many of them wearing work boots and ball caps, blue jeans and plaid, and all of them hoping to learn something good about Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to solve California’s water delivery problems. The folks from the river towns and rural communities along the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta didn’t like what they heard about the plan that is being called California WaterFix.
California’s ambitious plan to tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish.
Two bills that would protect Delta levees and ratepayers were passed in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday. Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s two bills — AB 732 and AB 791 — passed through their first hurdle.
Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.
Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life.
The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.
A levee break reported Monday afternoon on the north bank of the Mokelumne River levee near Lodi is being filled while crews are sandbagging a second break on the river’s south bank, the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services reports.
After three days of king tides and massive rainfall, levees in the Delta have begun to fail, flooding islands, duck clubs and other land north of Pittsburg, an island owner and emergency official said Thursday.
Federal officials on Friday approved short-term pumping limits from the Delta that are higher than a team of experts had recommended days earlier to protect imperiled fish. In theory, the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could lead to the first use of a controversial new law that allows higher levels of pumping under certain circumstances.
The Delta smelt has survived 2016, but that’s about where the good news ends. Surveys that wrapped up this month revealed no real increase in smelt numbers despite a wetter year with more freshwater flow in the Delta.
San Joaquin County residents and public officials alike voiced opposition this week against a state plan to increase flows from the Stanislaus River as well as increase allowable salt in the southern San Joaquin Delta, stating the proposals could have significant negative impacts on the region’s agricultural viability.
The report’s findings were unequivocal: Given the current pace of water diversions, the San Francisco Bay and the Delta network of rivers and marshes are ecological goners, with many of its native fish species now experiencing a “sixth extinction,” environmental science’s most-dire definition of ecosystem collapse.
Understanding the importance of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and working to restore it means grasping the scope of what it once was. That’s the takeaway message of a report released Nov. 14 by the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The report, “A Delta Renewed,” is the latest in a series sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).
Dr. Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, is the godfather of research on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. When he says it took John Sutter eight days to wind his way from San Francisco Bay through the Delta to find the narrow Sacramento River in 1839, you can bet that’s the truth. … Now, water agencies have joined together again to launch the River Arc Project.
After several years of unrelenting hyacinth invasions each fall, it’s as if someone has finally peeled back that green shag carpet and returned Stockton’s rivers to its people. … And there is a general sense that a coordinated effort by state and federal officials — along with a bit of help from Mother Nature — is starting to make a difference.
It might have been sprinkling outside the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, but inside the building some of the state’s brightest water experts were taking stock of California’s enduring drought. As we enter into what could be a sixth year of shortage, here are six lessons gleaned from Tuesday’s forum sponsored by the nonprofit Water Education Foundation:
When California officials got serious about building two giant tunnels to divert freshwater out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, it didn’t take critics long to propose alternatives. One of the first was a grassroots scheme that, at first, seemed radical and counterintuitive: Let winter floods retake vast parts of the San Joaquin Valley – the very farmland that needs those Delta water diversions.
Evidence of what scientists are calling the planet’s Sixth Mass Extinction is appearing in San Francisco Bay and its estuary, the largest on the Pacific Coast of North and South America, according to a major new study.
Tests have confirmed the presence of toxic cyanobacteria — also known as “blue-green algae” — in south Delta waterways, state officials said Thursday. The “extensive” bloom is present in Old River and Grantline Canal, along Fabian Tract not far from Tracy and Mountain House, the State Water Resources Control Board announced.
Cooler temperatures seem to have finally subdued Stockton’s stinky algae monster for 2016, but an expert warned the Delta Protection Commission this week that, in general, toxic blooms are getting worse.
California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two tunnels to carry water across the state is only economically feasible if the federal government pays for nearly a third of it, according to a previously unreleased economic analysis.
San Francisco faces potentially drastic cutbacks in its water supply, as state regulators proposed leaving more water in three Northern California rivers Thursday to protect wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta estuary, the linchpin of California’s water supply.
Giant tunnels that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build to haul water across California are economically feasible only if the federal government bears a third of the nearly $16 billion cost because local water districts may not benefit as expected, according to an analysis that the state commissioned last year but never released.
The federal government and farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may be close to signing off on another controversial deal to clean up toxic runoff which, if left unabated, could threaten the downstream Delta.
Five years of drought have severely taxed California’s rivers, reservoirs and groundwater. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the hub of California’s water supply, an agricultural center and a crucial ecological resource – hasn’t been immune from the impacts of the prolonged drought.
At this free one-day briefing in Stockton on Oct. 25, keynote speaker Jay Lund, Director of the UC Center for Watershed Sciences, and other experts will discuss the drought’s effects on the Delta.
Other confirmed speakers include Delta Watermaster Michael Patrick George, Michelle Banonis, Manager of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Bay-Delta Office, Michael Dettinger, senior scientist and research hydrologist at USGS, and Peter Moyle, one of the foremost experts on California’s freshwater fish.
Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium
525 N. Center Street
Offering a ray of hope in the struggle to save a tiny fish enmeshed in California’s water disputes, state officials say they have found a way to move around river water to produce more food for hungry or starving Delta smelt.
Michael George has called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta “highly important, highly complex, highly compromised.” George serves as Delta watermaster, a position created as part of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 to administer water rights in the Delta, where there are some 2,800 separate water diversions.
California officials Tuesday released a detailed environmental blueprint for Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta tunnels project, saying the $15.5 billion plan “minimizes potential effects” on endangered fish species whose populations have dwindled following decades of water pumping.
A group of commercial fishermen won a potentially significant court ruling in the seemingly endless battle over California’s water supply and the volumes of water pumped south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Either there’s been a spill at the local pea soup plant, or Stockton is suffering another nasty algae outbreak at the downtown waterfront. … The algae problem also has come up this week in Sacramento as state water officials begin extensive hearings that may determine the fate of the proposed Delta tunnels.
Representatives of California Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration began making their pitch for approval Tuesday to build a pair of massive water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
By the time the Sacramento River winds its more-than-400-mile course from the slopes of Mount Shasta past the state capital, it’s well into its leisurely stride, running slowly by fields of sweet corn, tomatoes and alfalfa. But this lazy stretch of river, just south of Sacramento, is a metaphorical whitewater.
This week, Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial water project is back in the public eye. State officials are launching a marathon series of hearings for the “twin tunnels,” as they’re known, that will ultimately decide the fate of the project.
When testimony begins Tuesday in a months-long hearing that could decide the fate of the $15 billion Delta water tunnels, amid all the acronyms and complexities and water-wonk jargon there will be a simple, consistent theme: Trust. Or lack thereof.
Still swirling in controversy, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $15.5 billion re-engineering of the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is heading into a critical phase over the next year that could well decide if the project comes to fruition. Crunch time starts Tuesday.
California officials don’t have to pay property owners to access their land to conduct preliminary testing before deciding whether to move forward with a $15.7 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels to supply drinking water for cities and irrigation for farmers, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday. … Officials promoting the tunnels will present plans to state water regulators in hearings starting Tuesday.
In a win for the state, the California Supreme Court declared Thursday that the state has the right to go on private property for soil and environmental testing as part of a plan to divert fresh water under or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on its way to Central and Southern California.
A Southern California agency that provides drinking water for 19 million people officially became a substantial Delta landowner for the first time Monday after escrow closed on its $175 million purchase of several large islands.
Four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a chunk of a fifth are now officially the property of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, district officials announced Monday.
Working from a bland, windowless office on the 13th floor of the Resources Building, one of California’s newest state employees focuses on the one issue from which all else flows, water. Bruce Babbitt has signed on to help Jerry Brown fix what the governor calls the California WaterFix.
In a failed effort to protect endangered fish, the federal government decided without proper study to default to restricting the giant pumps at the bottom of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. So argues a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by a powerful consortium of water agencies.
A long-sought plan to restore the Delta’s ailing environment and bolster the reliability of its water supplies was declared invalid by a judge Friday, possibly throwing another wrench in the governor’s plan for water tunnels through the region.
A judge clarified late Thursday that a sweeping 21st century plan for the Delta is “invalid,” a decision applauded by Delta advocates who had argued the plan didn’t go far enough to protect the fragile estuary from massive water exports.
In a decision that could delay or complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a comprehensive management plan for the estuary is no longer valid. … State officials say they plan to appeal.
In California’s 3rd Senate District, two colors stand out: blue and green. Blue for water, green for money. … The Brown administration’s plan to build tunnels in the delta to carry northern water south is the single most controversial issue in the district.
Saying they wanted to go beyond what they’ve done in the past, state officials resumed water hyacinth removal efforts at the downtown Stockton waterfront earlier than normal on Wednesday with the blessing of federal biologists.
State water regulators are proposing to dismiss a record $1.5-million fine they intended to levy against a Northern California irrigation district accused of ignoring drought-related cuts in water diversions.
A judge has upheld major provisions of a state plan that lays out a long-term strategy for managing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, rejecting most complaints included in a cluster of long-standing lawsuits.
A plan that was supposed to serve as a comprehensive roadmap for the Delta through the year 2100 now must be partially rewritten, after a judge this week ruled on complaints stemming from no fewer than seven lawsuits.
A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge on Thursday cleared the way for a Southern California water district to complete its purchase of 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, ruling that it was too soon to say how the property would be used.
Southern California’s largest water supplier can move ahead with plans to buy sprawling farmland that could be used to help build twin tunnels far to the north through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a judge ruled Thursday.
Picking up on Sen. Ted Cruz’s criticism of environmental protections for fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Carly Fiorina, Cruz’s newly-announced running mate, moved Saturday to reinforce his presidential campaign’s appeal to conservatives and farm interests in the Central Valley.
In a setback for Delta advocates, a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge on Friday declined to grant a restraining order that would have temporarily blocked a Southern California water agency from purchasing more than 20,000 acres of land in the heart of the estuary.
Wild fish, including the endangered Delta smelt and Sacramento winter-run salmon, have been hurt by a series of 20 state water board decisions over three years to relax Delta water flow and quality standards, according to the lawsuit by the National Resources Defense Council, the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife.
Two members of the state board that will play a crucial role in the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rebuffed demands from a south state water agency that they disqualify themselves from upcoming hearings on the issue.
Just days after a powerful Southern California water agency announced it was spending $175 million to buy five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a coalition of opponents has sued to demand environmental review of the purchase.
Declaring that the Delta “will not be the next Owens Valley,” San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties — along with farmers and environmental groups — sued Thursday to block a Southern California water district from buying more than 20,000 acres of farmland in the heart of the estuary.
Already viewed with suspicion and hostility in the north state water community, the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is broadening its reach by purchasing $175 million worth of real estate in the very hub of California’s water delivery network: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
A major change took place in California water operations this week, but you probably didn’t hear about it. Federal wildlife officials ordered cutbacks in water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect salmon and steelhead.
Only a close look at the Middle River revealed anything amiss in this part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Instead of flowing north toward San Francisco Bay, as nature intended, the Middle was headed south.
In response to dozens of pending protests, state and federal officials asked for a two-month delay in hearings that could decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
In a development that casts significant doubt on whether Silicon Valley’s largest water district will help pay for Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels plan, a majority of Santa Clara Valley Water District board members now say they want to put the issue to a public vote.
As lingering El Niño rains swell the state’s rivers, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined California House Republicans on Thursday to demand that President Obama order more water to be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants President Obama to order an increase in water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms and cities to the south. … A dozen Republican members of California’s House delegation sent a separate letter calling on Obama to act.
On the surface, hearings in Sacramento starting this week will determine whether a Delta water district with century-old water rights pumped illegally for 12 days last summer — and whether the district should be penalized $1.4 million as a result.
Promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown, the $15.7 billion project would run giant twin pipes, each four stories high, underground for 35 miles and eventually pull thousands of gallons of water a second from the stretch along the Sacramento River where [Russell] van Loben Sels farms to cities and farms to the south.
In the darkest days of the drought last summer, when farmers up and down the Central Valley feared the state would cut off their water supply, a strange thing happened in the Delta. Hundreds of growers agreed to voluntarily give up a share of their extraordinarily reliable water supply, in exchange for protection from the possibility of deeper, mandatory cuts.
Southern California’s giant water provider agreed Tuesday to purchase about 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, a move one Stockton-based advocacy group quickly called an “existential threat” to the future of the estuary.
As part of the latest push to restore the ailing Delta, a 646-acre wheat and corn farm here is expected one day to metamorphose into a recreational and habitat oasis complete with kayak launches, hiking trails and a home for endangered species.
Water hyacinth, the invasive water weed that carpets San Joaquin Delta channels in the warm season, choking out native species, degrading water quality, blocking recreational boaters and interfering with commercial ship traffic, holds promise as a biofuel.
San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the watershed that feeds them make up one of the world’s largest estuary systems, a wildly varied tableau of beaches, river, creeks, grasslands and tidal marshes.
Saying current water conditions pose particular peril for the state’s tiny, disappearing Delta smelt, federal officials moved to temporarily reduce water deliveries for farmers and millions of other Californians.
A small state agency will soon begin the daunting process of deciding whether to change the water rights for the state and federal water projects, allowing them to divert some of their water from the Sacramento River and bypass the Delta for the first time.
Gov. Jerry Brown said he is preparing to wade into next year’s crowded field of ballot battles, which could include proposing a new effort on climate change or fighting off an initiative to restrict infrastructure projects.
With rivers still flowing low, the freshwater Delta is once more turning salty. Officials are already considering installation of another emergency drought barrier in the Delta in April, to keep that saltwater at bay.
The board of the Southland’s water importer Tuesday voted to pursue the purchase of four farm islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the ecologically troubled center of California’s sprawling water system.
The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to authorize its general manager to negotiate options on the five islands, owned by a Swiss company called Delta Wetlands Properties.
Southern California’s biggest drinking water supplier will seek an option to buy 20,000 acres of river delta farm land east of San Francisco, a deal that could benefit a controversial tunnel project to carry Northern California water southward, the agency said on Tuesday.
The word nutrients sounds like a good thing—they make our food healthy, for example. But in our rivers, lakes, and bays, nutrients can pose water quality challenges. … In the Delta, nutrient pollution has contributed to the spread of invasive aquatic plants such as water hyacinth and recurrent blooms of the toxic blue-green alga Microcystis.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s response to the latest volley of opposition to his plan to divert water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta lacked the cheekiness he exhibited in May, when he playfully told his critics to “shut up.”
With the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta approaching a critical stage, a group of Southern California water agencies is working to buy four Delta islands, a move that has drawn accusations that the parcels could be used to orchestrate a south-state water grab.
As water wonks across the state hustled to beat a Friday deadline to file formal comment letters on the proposed twin tunnels, Gov. Jerry Brown offered a brief comment of his own, calling opponents’ arguments “false” and “shameful.”
The Delta’s floating green menace has now forced the city of Stockton to close its largest boat launch, another sign that this year’s water hyacinth invasion is just as nasty — if not more so — than last year’s.
Monday’s announcement was a blow for those hoping that an extra $4 million dedicated to hyacinth control efforts and a more aggressive schedule for applying herbicides would lead to noticeable improvement in 2015.
The [Delta Protection Commission] project included the commissioning of four scholarly essays about the Delta, containing hundreds of pages of details that in some cases are little-known even to those living there.
Delta advocates urged the faithful on Monday to write letters to state officials before Oct. 30, when the window of opportunity to formally comment on Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels proposal is expected to close.
The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is one of the West’s most important estuaries, and a critically important water source for millions of Californians. … We interviewed Phil Isenberg, vice chair of the Delta Stewardship Council and a member of PPIC’s board of directors, about the state of the Delta.
A committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is scheduled to meet today in closed session for negotiations with Delta Wetlands Properties, the private company that owns those four islands.
Two of California’s largest and most aggressive water agencies have discussed buying four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, prompting accusations by environmentalists and Delta farmers that the land purchases could be used to engineer a south state water grab.
State officials applied this week for the latest in a series of permits they need to build the twin tunnels beneath the Delta, another indication of their intent to move forward with the $15 billion plan.
In the past two years, the lesser-known longfin smelt has slipped down to the single digits in trawl surveys of Delta fish populations. The dramatic downturn is likely a result of the drought, as with the tinier delta smelt.
Operators of California’s giant state and federal water projects are formally asking for permission to take at least some of their water before it reaches the Delta, setting up another bureaucratic hurdle that must be cleared if Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels are ever to be built.
Federal and California agencies have filed some of the first permit applications for a proposed project involving the construction of twin 30-mile tunnels to help carry water from the northern to southern and central regions of the state, officials said Thursday.
In what researchers suspect is another troubling side effect of the state’s epic drought, the Delta is exploding with algae particles that in intensified concentrations could pose a substantial threat to the central hub for California’s vast water delivery network. The algae bloom is not limited to the central Delta.
State contractors have readied plans to acquire as many as 300 farms in the California delta by eminent domain to make room for a pair of massive, still-unapproved water tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to documents obtained by opponents of the tunnels.
In a sterile hotel conference room filled with the conversation of consultants wearing dress shirts and ties, 31-year-old Jon Michelsen abruptly stood on a chair, lifted his guitar and began to sing about the “darkened forces of political control.”
Normally, rivers from interior California help push back that saltier water and keep the Delta fresh, which is important for people and fish alike. But this year the rivers are low, which allows the Bay water to move toward the east and invade portions of the tidally influenced estuary.
After yet another revision, the governor’s plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta still makes no economic sense. A closer look at the three types of economic benefits claimed for the project to export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities shows why it can’t possibly justify its estimated $15 billion cost.
The activists are challenging revised environmental impact documents released earlier this month as part of a controversial, $15.5 billion plan to build two massive tunnels in the north Delta to ship the water to pumping stations in the south. … Known formally as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration recently renamed the tunnels project the California WaterFix.
Ever since we crossed the first bridge into California’s delta, I’ve been in a world that ambles and rambles and moves with the river. … There are 1,100 miles of sloughs and tributaries and 55 islands surrounded by the water that California is fighting over.
The latest version of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels ferrying water across California locks in just 15,600 acres for habitat restoration, one-sixth of that committed under Brown’s original tunnels proposal, state officials confirmed Monday.
Amid long-standing controversy surrounding Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two tunnels to divert water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south, one advantage the project appeared to hold was that Brown could forge ahead without a public vote.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration took a significant step toward building a pair of water tunnels through the Delta on Thursday, unveiling the fine print on a redesign that state officials say would reduce impacts on the landscape, improve conditions for endangered fish and enhance water supplies for millions of Southern Californians.
Fighting over water is a tradition in California, but nowhere are the lines of dispute more sharply drawn than here in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that is the hub of the state’s water system.
California is at high risk of permanently losing key species and habitats in the West Coast’s largest estuary, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay. … Whatever words we choose, the decline of the Bay-Delta is part of the global loss of biological diversity described in Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “The Sixth Extinction” – a tragedy that’s happening not just in coral reefs and rainforests but right in our backyard.
The State Water Contractors, which has 27 members that include the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, filed a complaint with state officials, accusing some Delta farmers of illegally using water that the public agencies have stored in reservoirs.
The tension between California farm interests and the state’s urban water users ratcheted up Tuesday, as a consortium of mostly urban water districts filed a complaint alleging Delta farmers are stealing water.
Gov. Jerry Brown called on California to support a plan to transform the heart of one of the state’s most important water systems, saying failure to take action on the delta could risk disaster for not only Southern California but the San Francisco Bay Area as well.
Ever since the state’s salinity barrier stopped water from flowing through a segment of False River on May 29 — a last-ditch drought effort to keep salty bay water from encroaching on the clean Delta drinking water — the currents have shifted dramatically, endangering boaters and threatening nearby levees, island officials and residents say.
The Water Education Foundation’s flagship event, the 33rd annual Executive Briefing, will be held March 17, 2016 in Sacramento. The theme for this year’s Briefing is “Defining the New Normal.”
This is the go-to conference for water district managers and board members, state and federal agency officials, city and county government officials, farmers, environmentalists, attorneys, consultants, engineers, business executives and public interest groups.
Confirmed speakers include State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus and California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. See announcements on the right-hand of this screen for more program information.
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2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815
Calling it a “challenge we have to respond to,” Gov. Jerry Brown told hundreds of business owners and others Thursday that the state needs to push forward with his administration’s plans for two water diversion tunnels to protect its economy.
The way we move water from Northern California to the south is the worst of all worlds. … California needs a better conveyance system – one that is reliable, protects the environment, can be used to supply more water and anticipates climate change.
California water managers, reacting to the state’s increasingly dire four-year-old drought, have taken an uncommon step to ensure the quality of the fresh water flowing through California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary that supplies drinking water to southern California communities and irrigation water to Central Valley farmers.