“California’s water future is at a critical juncture.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is declining, both as a reliable hub for exporting water for millions of Californians and millions of farmed acres, and as an ecosystem supporting a vast array of wildlife.
The Delta Reform Act of 2009 set a fundamentally new state water policy by mandating the “coequal goals” of water supply reliability and ecological restoration of the estuary where native fish populations are crashing. To meet those goals, the state has proposed construction of two giant water export tunnels underneath the Delta, running 35 miles from new intakes upstream on the Sacramento River to existing export canals near Tracy.
The re-plumbing proposal in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is highly controversial and expensive. But the costs of inaction are better understood today than they were in 1982 when California voters first rejected the proposed Peripheral Canal. Hard decisions will have to be made. Does California have the will to do it?