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
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
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
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
Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies
have led several California communities to look to treat salty
water for supplemental supplies through a process known as
Desalination removes salt and other dissolved minerals from water
and is one method to reclaim water for other uses. This can occur
with ocean water along the coast and in the interior at spots
that draw from ancient salt water deep under the surface or where
groundwater has been tainted
by too much salt.
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
Disadvantaged communities are
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.
An estimated 1 million Californians are served by water systems
with unsafe drinking water, according to the State Water
Resources Control Board. In many of these communities, people
often buy bottled or filtered water to avoid drinking
contaminated tap water.
Drought— an extended period of
limited or no precipitation— is a fact of life in California and
the West, with water resources following boom and-bust patterns.
During California’s most recent drought, from 2012–2016, much of
the state experienced severe drought conditions – significantly
less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher
No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last
century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the
West than in any other regions of the country.