The San Joaquin River, which helps
drain California’s Central Valley, has been negatively impacted
by construction of dams, inadequate streamflows and poor water
quality. Efforts are now underway to restore the river and
continue providing agricultural lands with vital irrigation,
among other water demands.
After an 18-year lawsuit to restore water flows to a 60-mile dry
stretch of river and to boost the dwindling salmon populations,
the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement is underway.
Water releases are now used to restore the San Joaquin River and
to provide habitat for naturally-reproducing populations of
self-sustaining Chinook salmon and other fish in the San Joaquin
River. Long-term efforts also include measures to reduce or avoid
adverse water supply impacts from the restoration flows.
To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure,
the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated
wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon.
… Working with the California Department of Water
Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that
increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and
wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director
Larry Parlin] said.
Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may
have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a
public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer
system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising
river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the
While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on
Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms,
finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several
years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.
The final hearing on the state’s river flow plan Tuesday dealt
in part with how long salmon stay in the streams each year. The
State Water Resources Control Board proposes to roughly double,
from February through June, the volume of the Stanislaus,
Tuolumne and Merced rivers.
On Tuesday in Modesto, it was standing-room only at a State
Water Resources Control Board hearing for a plan that could cut
irrigation water for farmers and drinking water for cities.
Many people showed up at the meeting to protest the plan, while
others came to show their support.
Asking the public to listen carefully to their controversial
plan, state water officials began a series of hearings Tuesday
on permanently shifting a share of water away from farms and
cities and reallocating it to wildlife on streams feeding the
San Joaquin River.
Friday will provide a chance to wade into the details of the
state’s proposal to increase flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne
and Merced rivers. … The public hearings will start Nov.
29 in Sacramento and continue in Modesto, Merced and Stockton
Water users in San Francisco and its suburbs face a day of
reckoning as state regulators move to leave more water in
California’s two biggest rivers in an effort to halt a collapse
in the native ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and its
estuary, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
A plan to leave more water in streams feeding the San Joaquin
River will benefit Delta water exporters while letting the
government off the hook for failing to meet water quality
standards, San Joaquin County water wonks said Wednesday.
A state official on Tuesday defended plans to permanently allow
more water to remain in the San Joaquin River and its
tributaries in an effort to help struggling fish species. The
proposal, released last month, has come under attack from farms
and cities that rely on those tributaries, particularly in
Stanislaus and Merced counties.