Drought and the Delta
As of October 2016, California had endured five years of drought, and the state has paid a price, with a high toll on the state’s rivers, reservoirs, groundwater and all the life water supports. Impacts have included water shortages and a decrease in water quality, which have impaired water systems and challenged agriculture, businesses and communities.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is important to include in discussions about drought impacts because the region is an agricultural center, crucial ecological resource and the hub of California’s water supply. What happens in the Delta has a ripple effect across the state.
The Delta drains the state’s largest watershed – 45,600 square miles – and just south of Sacramento, two of the state’s largest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, converge, directing about half of the state’s total runoff through the region. These flows provide all or part of the water supply to more than 25 million Californians and 4.5 million of acres of farmland.
During a one-day briefing, cosponsored by the Water Education Foundation and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy on Oct. 25, 2016, water experts discussed the drought impacts to the Delta region, how the Delta has responded and what is being done to prepare for future droughts.
This publication presents a summary of the discussions at the event, which was held in Stockton.