Billions of dollars in flood projects have eased fears of levee breaks near California’s capital and some other cities, but state and federal workers are joining farmers with tractors in round-the-clock battles this week to stave off any chain-reaction failure of rural levees protecting farms and farm towns.
Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the wastewater.
For five long, drought-plagued winters, Mother Nature refused to refill Coyote Creek. Foliage filled its dry bed, and without regular rains, the vegetation remained in the creek rather than being flushed out to sea.
Since 1976 the 2,250-megawatt coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, with its three towering stacks belching thick plumes of steam, has commanded the summit of a high bluff close to the Colorado River in northeastern Arizona. … The plant challenged the desert by joining water, fossil fuel, and pumping technology in a powerful union that slaked the thirst of Arizona’s farms and cities, and sustained a prosperous economy.
As hundreds of frustrated residents returned home Thursday to begin cleaning up the damage from the worst South Bay flooding in decades, water district officials said they tried to warn city officials in the hours before Coyote Creek spilled into neighborhoods that potentially destructive flows would arrive within three to four hours.
The San Francisco Bay Area is likely to be a lot more crowded in the near future, adding a projected 2 million people to the 7.5 million who already live here over the next quarter century. … Now regional planners have begun to address the disconnect between land use and water supply.
Over the past three months, a shockingly abundant rainy season has provided Northern California with much needed relief after an epic drought, but for small farms, the accompanying flooding and other headaches have proven there can be too much of a good thing.
The crisis at Oroville brought dams to the forefront of state and national discussions about aging infrastructure. Now, as full dams release high flows into rivers hemmed in by levees, this element of the state’s flood management system is in the spotlight. Many of our levees are very old—much older than most of the state’s dams—and in need of modernization. Nowhere in California is the issue more important—or more challenging—than in the Central Valley, and particularly, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.