The Delta Pumping Plant Fish Protection Agreement stems from an early effort to balance the needs of fish protection and State Water Project operations. Negotiated in the mid-1980s, the agreement foreshadowed future battles over fish protection and pumping. [See also Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.]
Overseen by the California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Delta Risk Management Strategy evaluated the sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and assessed major risks from floods, seepage, subsidence and earthquakes, sea level rise and climate change.
The endangered Delta smelt is a 3-inch fish found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It is considered especially sensitive because it lives just one year, has a limited diet and exists primarily in brackish waters (a mix of river-fed fresh and salty ocean waters that is typically found in coastal estuaries).
Created as a state agency in 2009, the seven-member panel is responsible for creating a plan, known as the Delta Plan, to deliver a more reliable water supply while also protecting, restoring, and enhancing restoring the Delta ecosystem [to learn more about the estuary, see Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.]
Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies have led several California communities to look to saltwater for supplemental supplies through a process known as desalination.
Desalination removes salt and other dissolved minerals from water and is one method to reclaim water for other uses. This can occur along the coast and in the interior at spots that draw from ancient salt water deep under the surface.
With a holding capacity of more than 260 billion gallons, Diamond Valley Lake is Southern California’s largest reservoir. It sits about 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles and just west of Hemet in Riverside County where it was built in 2000. The offstream reservoir was created by three large dams that connect the surrounding hills, costing around $1.9 billion and doubling the region’s water storage capacity.
Joan Didion is a native California author and playwright whose famous writings have featured California water issues.
Born and reared in Sacramento, she’s written extensively and personally about her feelings on the subject of water. In her memoir, Where I Was From, she tells not only the story about her pioneering family’s roots in the Sacramento area but also of the seasonal flooding, the water politics and controversies, and the California State Water Project (SWP) and federal Central Valley Project (CVP).
Disadvantaged communities are the areas throughout California that are affected most by economic, health and environmental burdens. These burdens include poverty, high unemployment, increased risk of asthma and heart disease and often limited access to safe and clean drinking water.
The California Department of Water Resources defines a disadvantaged community as one with an annual median household income that is less than 80 percent of the statewide annual figure. (California’s median household income in 2016 was $67,739, according to the state Department of Finance).