View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Water woes aren’t over

Posted: February 11, 2010 9:33 p.m.
Updated: February 12, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Rain and snowfall don’t end water woes.

The recent seasonally high precipitation in California brought a welcome record snowfall in the mountains that feed water to California.

Skiers and snowboarders are jumping for joy.

But Californians who closely monitor snowpack levels and other data related to state water are not nearly as joyous. Unfortunately, California’s long-diagnosed water problems are little if at all affected by increased snowfall.

California’s water problems are related not to the amount of water that can potentially move through the state, but the system of conveyance used to move that water. Southern and Central California receives water from the State Water Project via an aqueduct system primarily composed of diversions and levees from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

This system of water conveyance served the citizens of California quite nicely until about 20 years ago, when the last big population boom nearly doubled the size of the state.

Today, the Delta, as it is often referred to, is a sickly, dying ecosystem that environmentalists rightly point out can no longer be California’s primary vehicle for transport of water across the state.

Worse than that, the intricate and ad hoc system of levees and aqueducts is particularly vulnerable to erosive failure. Nearly all of the levees, which were built 100 years ago using none of the proper materials, are primed for failure.

Many of these levees keep sea water out of the water system or protect dozens of communities built just on the other side of these weakened levees. It’s a very precarious situation.

California’s broken water conveyance infrastructure must be replaced. The Delta system can be repaired, but not while California is still dependent on it for the conveyance of most, if not all, of its Central and Southern California water needs.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...