/ Water / Hard Truths About California’s Water History

Hard Truths About California’s Water History

Matt Ball on December 27, 2013 - in Water

At the heart of California’s vast and complex plumbing system, and the plan to re-engineer it with two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, are two truths. The first is that failing to take any action at all will result in almost certain disaster. Climate change is altering the volume of annual Sierra snowpack that feeds the delta, sustains its fragile ecosystem and provides sufficient water to keep Central Valley crops growing and to quench the thirst of urban areas from the East Bay to Southern California. Levees, pumps and canals that were designed for yesterday’s climate conditions cannot stave off environmental and economic collapse if precipitation levels drop or change form from snowfall to winter rain.

The second truth is that none of the interests that have worked to craft the draft proposal released last week for public comment can get all the water it wants, because there simply is not enough of it. That’s the whole point, and the central defining issue for much of California’s history. To sustain the delta, much of the snowmelt and rainfall that moves down the Sacramento River must keep flowing to the San Francisco Bay in order to push back the brackish water trying to make its way inland.

Read More in the LA Times

About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is founder and editorial director of V1 Media, publisher of Informed Infrastructure, Earth Imaging Journal, Sensors & Systems, Asian Surveying & Mapping and the video news site GeoSpatial Stream.

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