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.
The Friant Water Authority on Thursday approved the final
environmental review for a massive project to fix a 33-mile
segment of the Friant-Kern Canal despite continued questions
about funding and other concerns expressed by some Friant
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a
$108 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
(WIFIA) loan to the Stockton Public Financing Authority to help
modernize the city’s wastewater treatment facility and reduce
nitrogen discharges to the San Joaquin River.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently
launched an environmental justice community survey to gather
input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey,
entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from
communities that may be disproportionately affected by the
Southern California Edison crews will be able to restart some
releases from lakes in the San Joaquin River watershed after
the Creek Fire overran much of the area through September. …
Those releases, which flow into Millerton Lake, mean farmers
from Fresno to Arvin will be able to continue irrigation.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have
provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern
Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water
Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on
federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other
government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern
Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a
proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of
Bright-green blotches of algae have been popping up all over
the Delta since early summer, from Discovery Bay to the
Stockton waterfront, befouling the air and poisoning the water
with toxins that can sicken or even kill humans and animals.
Veteran Delta watchers believe that this year’s harmful algal
blooms may be the worst ever, and worry that some features of
Governor Gavin Newsom’s recently released Water Resilience
Portfolio for California will aggravate the problem.
No California communities are more shaped by water than those
in the Delta. Water surrounds communities like
Stockton. Water shaped our history and still shapes our
economy, quality of life, culture, and is essential for a
healthy environment. And for our communities,
water-related disasters are devastating. We see proof of that
The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per
second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the
Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer
Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix
the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to
the Bureau of Reclamation.
California’s Delta Watermaster Michael George is responsible
for administering water rights within the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta, which supplies drinking water to more than
25 million Californians and helps irrigate 3 million acres of
farmland. For him, the development of OpenET signals an
exciting opportunity for the future of water in the West.
A rapid-fire review of potential fixes to the Friant-Kern Canal
favors building a replacement canal for 20 miles alongside the
existing canal where land subsidence has caused it to sag,
severely restricting water flow, according to final
environmental documents released Friday.
At the August meeting of the Delta Independent Science Board,
the new members joined with the outgoing members for
reflections and discussion to bring the new members up to speed
on the Delta ISB’s ongoing work.
The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all
sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to
sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself,
development and other land use changes have left only a tiny
fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by
scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical
streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the
Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.
Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to
the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other
potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study
in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes
research articles and commentaries providing a broad
understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.
California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under
the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing
at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the
Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of
the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave
an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has
been made over the past five years.
“Until the Last Drop,” a feature-length documentary filmed
along the banks of the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San
Joaquin Rivers is scheduled for virtual release Labor Day
weekend 2020. In this probing film, Modesto Irrigation District
along with Final Cut Media examine the rivers that have
transformed the San Joaquin Valley, helped create cities and
nourish the world.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul
how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile
tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the
Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the
delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue
to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate
change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to
act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of
shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The
tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s
never-ending water wars.
A bill that would have provided funding for the Friant-Kern
Canal was abandoned by the California State Legislature on
Sunday. It’s route to abandonment is a short, but confusing one
centering on California’s wildfires
Waters of the Delta are in the midst of a tug-of-war. If
California is not careful, the largest inland delta on the
western coast of the North American continent will be damaged.
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