The San Joaquin River, which helps drain California’s Central Valley, has been negatively impacted by construction of dams, inadequate streamflows and poor water quality. Efforts are now underway to restore the river and continue providing agricultural lands with vital irrigation, among other water demands.
After an 18-year lawsuit to restore water flows to a 60-mile dry stretch of river and to boost the dwindling salmon populations, the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement is underway. Water releases are now used to restore the San Joaquin River and to provide habitat for naturally-reproducing populations of self-sustaining Chinook salmon and other fish in the San Joaquin River. Long-term efforts also include measures to reduce or avoid adverse water supply impacts from the restoration flows.
A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising river water.
To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure, the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon. … Working with the California Department of Water Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director Larry Parlin] said.
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.
While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms, finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.
The final hearing on the state’s river flow plan Tuesday dealt in part with how long salmon stay in the streams each year. The State Water Resources Control Board proposes to roughly double, from February through June, the volume of the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.
On Tuesday in Modesto, it was standing-room only at a State Water Resources Control Board hearing for a plan that could cut irrigation water for farmers and drinking water for cities. Many people showed up at the meeting to protest the plan, while others came to show their support.
Asking the public to listen carefully to their controversial plan, state water officials began a series of hearings Tuesday on permanently shifting a share of water away from farms and cities and reallocating it to wildlife on streams feeding the San Joaquin River.
Friday will provide a chance to wade into the details of the state’s proposal to increase flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. … The public hearings will start Nov. 29 in Sacramento and continue in Modesto, Merced and Stockton next month.
Water users in San Francisco and its suburbs face a day of reckoning as state regulators move to leave more water in California’s two biggest rivers in an effort to halt a collapse in the native ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and its estuary, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.