Topic: Bay Delta

Overview

Bay-Delta

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The Delta is formed by the Sacramento River flowing south to meet the north-flowing San Joaquin River just south of Sacramento, where the rivers mingle with smaller tributaries and tidal flows, and move out into San Francisco Bay.

More than a century ago, farmers began building a network of levees to drain and “reclaim” what was then a marsh. The lands were pumped dry and the marsh was transformed into productive island farms, mostly below sea level.

Today, the Delta is a 700-mile maze of sloughs and waterways surrounding more than 60 leveed tracts and islands. It is the hub of California’s two largest surface water delivery projects, the State Water Project  and the federal Central Valley Project. The Delta provides a portion of the drinking water for 25 million Californians and provides the $36 billion agricultural industry with irrigation to 4.5 million acres.

The Delta estuary is the largest on the west coast of North America with more than 738,000 acres in five counties. An estimated 80 percent of the state’s commercial fishery species live in or migrate through the Delta, and at least half of its Pacific Flyway migratory water birds rely on the region’s wetlands.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Bay Delta Science Conference: The science of non-native species in a dynamic Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is one of the most invaded estuaries in the world, with non-native species now a large part of the Delta’s ecosystem. The invasion of new non-native species threatens the achievement of the coequal goal of “protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.” Reducing the impact of non-native species is one of the core strategies called for in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news Estuary News Magazine

Tracking natural nitrogen removal

Nitrogen inputs to the San Francisco Bay are among the highest of estuaries worldwide, yet so far have not caused harmful impacts like extreme algal blooms, oxygen depletion, and fish kills. But resistance to this nutrient may not last. Ever since the Gold Rush, excess sediment from pulverized rock has been pouring into the Bay, clouding the water and keeping algae in check by blocking sunlight. 

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

‘Dirt broker’ gets year of probation for Clean Water Act violation

A “dirt broker” whose prison sentence for illegally dumping pollutants into protected wetlands was overturned by a federal appeals court last year pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Clean Water Act and agreed to serve one year of probation, prosecutors confirmed Thursday. For a fee, James Lucero provided trucking companies and contractors with an open space to dump dirt and construction debris. Lucero’s dumping sites were separated from Mowry Slough by a levee made of packed dirt. 

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta salinity barrier to stay in 2022

In response to continuing drought conditions, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that it will keep the West False River salinity barrier in place until November 2022. Construction of the rock barrier was completed in June, and the emergency permit issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) originally required its removal by Nov. 30, 2021.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Sometimes, studying the variation is the interesting thing

As scientists, we’re trained to key in on ‘response variables’. In my case, fisheries scientists often examine how fish physiology, populations, communities or whole ecosystems react to various environmental drivers or human alteration. Unfortunately, variation in data is too frequently looked upon as a nuisance, an after thought, or worse – a statistical hurdle distracting from presenting the cleanest possible pattern. Yet, what if the variation within the data was the interesting thing all along? 

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map
Published March 2021

Delta Map for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

This beautifully illustrated 24×36-inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, highlights the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, its place as a center of farming, its importance as an ecological resource and its vital role in California’s water supply system. 

The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization, farming, fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. 

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.

Can Carbon Credits Save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Islands and Protect California’s Vital Water Hub?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: An ambitious plan would use carbon credits as incentives to convert Delta islands to wetlands or rice to halt subsidence and potentially raise island elevations

Equipment on this tower measures fluctuations in greenhouse gas emissions for managed wetlands on Sherman Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases tons of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. As the islands sink, the levees that protect them are at increasing risk of failure, which could imperil California’s vital water conveyance system.

An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking.

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Western Water California Water Map Layperson's Guide to California Water Gary Pitzer

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

Bruce Babbitt Urges Creation of Bay-Delta Compact as Way to End ‘Culture of Conflict’ in California’s Key Water Hub
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Former Interior secretary says Colorado River Compact is a model for achieving peace and addressing environmental and water needs in the Delta

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt gives the Anne J. Schneider Lecture April 3 at Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum.  Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona governor and secretary of the Interior, has been a thoughtful, provocative and sometimes forceful voice in some of the most high-profile water conflicts over the last 40 years, including groundwater management in Arizona and the reduction of California’s take of the Colorado River. In 2016, former California Gov. Jerry Brown named Babbitt as a special adviser to work on matters relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Delta tunnels plan.

Announcement

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to Give Anne J. Schneider Lecture April 3
Babbitt, a former Arizona governor, has a long history of involvement in Western water issues, including in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Former Interior Secretary and Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt will be the distinguished speaker at the 2019 Anne J. Schneider Lecture on April 3 at the Crocker Art Museum in downtown Sacramento.

Babbitt’s talk is titled “Parting the Waters — Will It Take a Miracle?”

The event begins at 4 p.m. in the Crocker Art Museum’s Setzer Auditorium. The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Ellen Hanak, director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center, and a reception. Here is where to sign up for the event, which is free. 

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

Women Leading in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review

Dear Western Water readers:

Women named in the last year to water leadership roles (clockwise, from top left): Karla Nemeth, director, California Department of Water Resources; Gloria Gray,  chair, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Brenda Burman, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner; Jayne Harkins,  commissioner, International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico; Amy Haas, executive director, Upper Colorado River Commission.The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.

These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.

We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:

As He Steps Aside, Tim Quinn Talks About ‘Adversarialists,’ Collaboration and Hope For Solving the State’s Tough Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Tim Quinn, retiring executive director of Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn  with a report produced by Association of California Water Agencies on  sustainable groundwater management.  (Source:  Association of California Water Agencies)In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.

Western Water Colorado River Basin Map California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Despite Risk of Unprecedented Shortage on the Colorado River, Reclamation Commissioner Sees Room for Optimism
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Commissioner Brenda Burman, in address at Foundation’s Water Summit, also highlights Shasta Dam plan

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda BurmanThe Colorado River Basin is more than likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told an audience of California water industry people.

During a keynote address at the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento, Burman said there is opportunity for Colorado River Basin states to control their destiny, but acknowledged that in water, there are no guarantees that agreement can be reached.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

When Water Worries Often Pit Farms vs. Fish, a Sacramento Valley Farm Is Trying To Address The Needs Of Both
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: River Garden Farms is piloting projects that could add habitat and food to aid Sacramento River salmon

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a refuge like the ones that were lowered into the Sacramento River at Redding to shelter juvenile salmon.  Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.

And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.

Western Water Space Invaders Gary Pitzer

It’s Not Just Nutria — Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has 185 Invasive Species, But Tracking Them is Uneven
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Delta science panel urges greater coordination, funding of invasive species monitoring

Water hyacinth choke a channel in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in remediation.

The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent native to South America that causes concern because of its propensity to devour every bit of vegetation in sight and destabilize levees by burrowing into them. Wildlife officials are trapping the animal and trying to learn the extent of its infestation.

Western Water Water Education Foundation

ON THE ROAD: Cosumnes River Preserve Offers Visitors a Peek at What the Central Valley Once Looked Like
Preserve at the edge of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes valley oak forests and wintering grounds for cranes

Sandhill cranes gather at the Cosumnes River Preserve south of Sacramento.Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Delta

ON THE ROAD: Park Near Historic Levee Rupture Offers Glimpse of Old Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Big Break Regional Shoreline will be a stop on Bay-Delta Tour May 16-18

Visitors explore a large, three-dimensional map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Along the banks of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Oakley, about 50 miles southwest of Sacramento, is a park that harkens back to the days when the Delta lured Native Americans, Spanish explorers, French fur trappers, and later farmers to its abundant wildlife and rich soil.

That historical Delta was an enormous marsh linked to the two freshwater rivers entering from the north and south, and tidal flows coming from the San Francisco Bay. After the Gold Rush, settlers began building levees and farms, changing the landscape and altering the habitat.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

New Delta Lead Scientist Seeks Improved Knowledge of Bay-Delta Interface

John Callaway, the incoming lead scientist of the Delta Science Program, was forthright in describing his initial reaction to the idea of his new job. 

“When I saw the position, I guess I can say my first reaction was, ‘No way, I don’t want to get involved with all the crazy overwhelming issues of the Delta,’” he said. “But I thought about it more and thought it would be a great opportunity to get more involved in the science/management interface.”

Western Water Gary Pitzer

Delta Report Highlights Need to Restore Legacy Processes

Understanding the importance of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and working to restore it means grasping the scope of what it once was.

That’s the takeaway message of a report released Nov. 14 by the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

The report, “A Delta Renewed,” is the latest in a series sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Written by several authors, the report says there is “cause for hope” to achieving large-scale Delta restoration in a way that supports people, farms and the environment. SFEI calls itself “one of California’s premier aquatic and ecosystem science institutes.”

Western Water Gary Pitzer

Action Needed Now to Stem Smelt Extinction, Top Fish Scientist Says

Photo by California DWR

California should take immediate actions to save the endangered Delta smelt from extinction, a top fish scientist said recently.

Peter Moyle, distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis, has been studying the health of California’s native fish since 1969. He told an audience in Sacramento that it’s time for stepped-up actions to save the Delta smelt, the population of which has dropped to a historic low level.

Post

Happenings

Catch a tour bus; attend our international groundwater conference; meet our new water leaders

Catch a Tour Bus this Spring

Need a resolution for 2016? Leave the office behind and catch a ride on a tour bus. Our tours give you the chance to see firsthand the projects, places and people that comprise the water debate.

Western Water Excerpt Jennifer Bowles

Finding the Right Balance: Managing Delta Salinity in Drought
September/October 2014

In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in between, the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.

The cycle of ebb and flood is the defining nature of an estuary and prior to its transformation into an agricul­tural tract in the mid-19th century, the Delta was a freshwater marsh with plants, birds, fish and wildlife that thrived on the edge of the saltwater/freshwater interface.

Aquapedia background California Water Map Layperson's Guide to California Water

Pacific Flyway

The Pacific Flyway is one of four major North American migration routes for birds, especially waterfowl, and extends from Alaska and Canada, through California, to Mexico and South America. Each year, birds follow ancestral patterns as they travel the flyway on their annual north-south migration. Along the way, they need stopover sites such as wetlands with suitable habitat and food supplies. In California, 90 percent of historic wetlands have been lost.

Publication

New Director’s Packet

Newly elected to your local water board? Or city council? Or state Legislature? This packet of materials provides you with the valuable background information you need – and at a special price!

Publication

Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - Paperback

The story of water is the story of California. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.

Publication

Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - hardbound

The story of California is the story of water. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Delta Warning

15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks, 16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.

Video

Shaping of the West: 100 Years of Reclamation

30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern day issues.

Video

Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Maps & Posters

Water Cycle Poster

Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.

Maps & Posters

Invasive Species Poster Set

One copy of the Space Invaders and one copy of the Unwelcome Visitors poster for a special price.

Maps & Posters

Unwelcome Visitors

This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how non-native invasive animals can alter the natural ecosystem, leading to the demise of native animals. “Unwelcome Visitors” features photos and information on four such species – including the zerbra mussel – and explains the environmental and economic threats posed by these species.

Maps & Posters

Space Invaders

This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how non-native invasive plants can alter the natural ecosystem, leading to the demise of native plants and animals. “Space Invaders” features photos and information on six non-native plants that have caused widespread problems in the Bay-Delta Estuary and elsewhere.

Maps & Posters

California Water Map, Spanish

Spanish language version of our California Water Map

Versión en español de nuestro mapa de agua de California

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2020

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing
Updated 2005

The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides background information on water rights, types of transfers and critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in 1996, the 2005 version offers expanded information on groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River transfers and the role of private companies in California’s developing water market. 

Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management
Updated 2009

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the physical flood control system, including levees; discusses previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores issues of floodplain management and development; provides an overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control projects. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Maps & Posters California Water Bundle

California Water Map
Updated December 2016

A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.

Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts – including federally, state and locally funded projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.

Sea to Sierra Water Tour 2014
Rolling Seminar on California Water Issues (past)

The 2014 tour was held April 10 – 11.

Travel across the state on Amtrak’s famed California Zephyr, from the edge of sparkling San Francisco Bay, through the meandering channels of the Delta, past rich Central Valley farmland, growing cities, historic mining areas and into the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Aquapedia background

CALFED

CALFED

CALFED began as a cooperative state-federal planning effort between water, environmental, state and federal officials involved in the 1994 Bay-Delta Accord.

That accord aimed to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and provide water to urban and agricultural interests.

Today, as part of the Delta Reform Act of 2009, the Delta Stewardship Council has in effect taken on the CALFED mission.

Western Water Magazine

Meeting the Co-equal Goals? The Bay Delta Conservation Plan
May/June 2013

This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

The San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem needs freshwater to survive. How much water and where it comes from is a longstanding debate that is flaring up as the state embarks on an updated water quality plan for the Bay-Delta.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: Sound Science and Good Delta Policy
July/August 2011

This printed issue of Western Water examines science – the answers it can provide to help guide management decisions in the Delta and the inherent uncertainty it holds that can make moving forward such a tenuous task.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Making the Connection: Sound Science and Good Delta Policy
July/August 2011

If there is one constant in all the turmoil surrounding California’s water, it is the pivotal role of science in decision-making. It is science that seeks to tell us what’s happening in the natural world and the possible actions that can be taken to affect change for the better.

Western Water Magazine

Delta Conveyance: The Debate Continues
March/April 2009

This printed issue of Western Water provides an overview of the idea of a dual conveyance facility, including questions surrounding its cost, operation and governance

Western Water Magazine

Making a Future for Fish: Preserving and Restoring Native Salmon and Trout
January/February 2009

This printed copy of Western Water examines the native salmon and trout dilemma – the extent of the crisis, its potential impact on water deliveries and the lengths to which combined efforts can help restore threatened and endangered species.

Western Water Magazine

Finding a Vision for the Delta
March/April 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the problems tied to the Delta.

Western Water Magazine

Water Policy 2007: The View from Washington and Sacramento
March/April 2007

This issue of Western Water looks at the political landscape in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento as it relates to water issues in 2007. Several issues are under consideration, including the means to deal with impending climate change, the fate of the San Joaquin River, the prospects for new surface storage in California and the Delta.

Western Water Magazine

Building a Delta Vision: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2007

There are multiple Delta Vision processes underway and a decision on the future of the Delta will be made in the next two years. Unlike past planning efforts that focused primarily on water resource issues and the ecosystem, these current efforts are expanding to include land use planning, recreation, flood management, and energy, rail and transportation infrastructure. How – or if – all these competing demands can be accommodated is the question being considered.

Western Water Excerpt Rita Schmidt Sudman

Building a Delta Vision: A Roundtable Discussion
Jan/Feb 2007

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is faced with many major challenges: land subsidence, deteriorating levees and flood risks, agricultural sustainability, increasing urbanization, water supply reliability, ecosystem health, sea level rise, climate change, and water quality. Confronted with the question of how to sustain the multiple values/uses of the Delta, federal, state and local officials, Delta residents, environmentalists, water agencies and others are working to craft a vision of the Delta 100 years from today.

Western Water Magazine

Developing a Delta Vision
May/June 2006

This issue of Western Water examines the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as it stands today and the efforts by government agencies, policy experts, elected officials and the public at large to craft a vision for a sustainable future.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Developing a Delta Vision
May/Jun 2006

The Delta has been in the spotlight recently, with a cascade of tumultuous events that have spotlighted the importance and fragility of a unique resource that is mostly out of sight and out of mind to most Californians. Issues of sustainability, governance, water quality, ecosystem health and levee stability have reached the forefront in recent months, punctuated by congressional inquiries and even discussion of revisiting the proposed peripheral canal that was trumped at the polls more than 20 years ago.

Western Water Magazine

CALFED at a Crossroads: A Decade of the Bay-Delta Program
March/April 2005

This issue of Western Water discusses the CALFED Bay-Delta Program and what the future holds as it enters a crucial period. From its continued political viability to the advancement of best available science and the challenges of fulfilling the ROD, the near future will feature a lively discussion that will play a significant role in the program’s future.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

CALFED at a Crossroads: A Decade of the Bay-Delta Program
Mar/Apr 2005

The issues surrounding the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento- San Joaquin River Delta are as complex and varied as the ecology of the estuary. Start with the fact that water is a valuable resource in California that more often than not is in short supply for the many competing demands. Combine that with a growing urban sector and the need to maintain an agricultural industry that is a significant part of the state’s economic engine. Finally, recognize the environmental impacts from the development of California, including the diversion of water, and the obligations to preserve species diversity and water quality.

Western Water Magazine

Flood Management 2004: A System in Peril
September/October 2004

This issue of Western Water analyzes northern California’s extensive flood control system – it’ history, current concerns, the Paterno decision and how experts are re-thinking the concept of flood management.

Western Water Excerpt

The CALFED Plan: Making it Happen
Jan/Feb 2004

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been described as the “switching yard” of California ’s water delivery system, moving billions of gallons that supply the drinking water and irrigation for millions of people. When stakeholders signed the 1994 Bay-Delta Accord, it was a dual-purpose deal designed to preserve, protect and restore the ecosystem and increase water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

CALFED Plan: Making it Happen
January/February 2004

This issue of Western Water examines the extensive activity associated with the projects and issues related to the Napa proposal – from increasing the state’s pumping capacity to improvements in the south Delta to the creation of a lasting Environmental Water Account to addressing water quality concerns. As of press time, the proposal was far from finalized, undergoing review and possible revision by government agencies and stakeholders.

Western Water Magazine

CALFED Today: A Roundtable Discussion
September/October 2002

The release of the CALFED Record of Decision in 2000 marked a turning point in the multi-year effort to craft a Delta “fix” that addressed both environmental problems and water supply reliability. How to finance the many components within the plan and ensure the plan is implemented over the next 30 years is a major issue.

Western Water Excerpt Sue McClurgRita Schmidt Sudman

CALFED Today: A Roundtable Discussion
Sept/Oct 2002

The Bay-Delta comprises just 1 percent of California’s total area, yet is at the heart of the state’s water supply system and controversies. The CALFED Bay-Delta Program was formed in an effort to replace conflict and controversy with a common vision and a plan to “fix” the Delta. For the past two years, CALFED agencies and stakeholders have begun to initiate many studies and implement many projects and programs called for in the 2000 Record of Decision and Framework Agreement.

Western Water Excerpt Sue McClurgRita Schmidt Sudman

CALFED and the Delta Fix
January/February 1999

Balance between ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability is key to a Bay-Delta solution. Everyone agrees on this concept. But the demands of the competing interests can tilt the scales. So, too, can the member agencies’ conflicting missions. For more than three years, the joint state-federal CALFED Bay-Delta Program has been searching for equilibrium among the Delta’s complex problems and its contentious stakeholders. In December, it released its latest blueprint for resolving the Delta dilemma — the Revised Phase II Report.