Saturday, October 18, 2008

Delta Vision

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, a former Sacramento mayor chaired this group and its conclusions are pretty good, but as always, the devil is in the details and those have yet to be worked out.

A excerpt.

“Independently, neither water users nor environmental groups have the full solution to meeting the water demands of a thirsty and growing California, a governor-appointed panel concluded Friday. But together they might.

“The state's Delta Vision Task Force ended nearly two years of study Friday by declaring that, with a finite supply of water at its disposal, California must do more of everything to meet its water needs.

“That includes building some type of canal to divert fresh water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the task force concluded – this state's most controversial water proposal for two generations.

“It also includes more dams, aggressive statewide conservation and unflinching enforcement of existing water laws to protect the environment.

“The plan's central theme is that water supply and a healthy environment should be co-equal goals.

"We've got to end this view that water users can rub environmentalists into the ground or vice versa," said Phil Isenberg, chairman of the task force and one-time opponent of a canal. "I used to say the Delta would be better off if nothing happened. Well, that's not true."

“At the core of the panel's work is the Delta itself, the largest estuary on the West Coast and hub of the state water system.

“Delta water serves 23 million Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, a supply threatened by weak levees on Delta islands.

“Floods, a rise in sea level, earthquakes – or some combination of the three – are likely to contaminate Delta waters in the future, triggering a statewide water, and economic, crisis.

“The task force favors a "dual conveyance" strategy to protect that water supply. This includes building a new canal around the Delta's perimeter and bolstering existing channels through its center.

“The system could allow more water to be diverted whenever there is a surplus. In lean years, more storage – both in dams and below ground – would mean less diversion, which would be better for the environment."

The plan can be found at