Throughout the state, there are more than 100 active faults that have produced earthquakes resulting in widespread damage and deaths. In Southern California alone, since 1933, there have been 23 significant quakes of magnitude 5.9 or greater. The San Andreas Fault, the major fault line running through California, is expected to be the source for a major earthquake. It was the source for the earthquake that leveled San Francisco in 1906.
Water infrastructure is vulnerable to earthquakes:
* In the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, man-made levees dating back to 1850 are identified as at risk when a major earthquake hits.
* The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates a magnitude 7.8 temblor on the southern portion of the San Andreas Fault will cause major damage to infrastructure, including water lines and dams.
A panel of experts in Southern California also has identified the following risks as a result of a major earthquake:
* Likely major damage to the main aqueducts bringing water to Southern California from Northern California and the Colorado River. Repairs may be hampered due to damaged roads and large-scale fires.
* In the following days after a major quake, there may be no water available due to infrastructure breaks and loss of power. After that, repairs will bring supplies online slowly.
Water districts and agencies have prepared earthquake preparedness and emergency plans to address the emergency.
Also, groundwater basins will be used as emergency reservoirs to make up the water shortages when imported supplies are unavailable.
Los Angeles gets 88% of its water from three major aqueducts, flowing from the Colorado River, Owens Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … Officials have long warned that a massive temblor on the San Andreas could destroy key sections of the aqueducts, cutting off the water supply for more than 22 million people in Southern California.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday proposed the most ambitious seismic safety regulations in California history — rules that would require owners to retrofit thousands of buildings most at risk of collapse during a major earthquake. … Garcetti is also proposing sweeping plans to protect aqueducts that supply L.A. with water and ensure firefighters won’t be left helpless by ruptured pipes as fires burn through neighborhoods.
Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey and university researchers suggest that the increased number of temblors coincides with the injection of wastewater deep underground, which is part of the process in hydraulic fracturing.
On a map of the whole state, the great earthquake faults of California look like a pretty simple set of lines that join and divide in a loose tangle: the San Andreas Fault Zone. … A new paper in the journal Tectonics (open access) has begun to lay bare the intricate buried structure south of Hollister where two major faults come together, the San Andreas and Calaveras faults.
Marin is the 17th worst place to own a home in the country, almost as bad as Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Forrest County, Mississippi, according to a report from the Weather Channel website weather.com. Earthquake, flood and wildfire risk combined to land Marin in the list of America’s 50 worst places to own a house based on natural factors.
It’s been 25 years since a massive quake rocked the Bay Area just before a World Series game … There have been about $30 billion worth of upgrades made to roads and water and telecommunications systems.
The Bay Area is booming, building and growing. But its 7 million residents live under a shadow: a future earthquake that could devastate the region as much as — or more than — the Loma Prieta tremor 25 years ago.
A massive earthquake in Southern California could economically cripple the Los Angeles region, earthquake “czar” Dr. Lucy Jones warned City Council members during a hearing Wednesday. … A seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Jones is working for the city for free for 12 months, helping craft a report on earthquake preparedness in building safety, water issues and communication systems.
This week, the $288 million tunnel begins carrying the Bay Area’s water supply from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park to the Peninsula, bolstering the dependability of the region’s water system.
Four highly stressed seismic faults in the Bay Area’s densely populated San Andreas system are moving on the surface and could rupture in a major earthquake at any time, according to scientists tracking their movements. … The scientists’ report was published Monday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
A popular rock climbing area and other recreational facilities on the southeast side of Lake Perris will be closed for three years starting this week so that seismic work can begin on the dam, state officials said.
In greater numbers by the month, residents across north Orange County are calling for an end to fracking, joining a growing chorus of Californians demanding a stop to the controversial oil drilling practice.
An extensive Bay Area News Group survey of our infrastructure offers much reassurance: Major water pipes are now designed to bend, not break. … But our readiness to recover from the Big One gets far from a perfect score — more like a C-plus, say experts who study quake preparation around the globe.
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.
This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.
The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.
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.
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 and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.
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.