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.

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.