Tag Archive for 'Sacramento River'

Disinformation Floods Delta Water War

Photo retrieved from: www.calwatchdog.com

“Gov. Jerry Brown declared the “drought” over in 2011. Yet water rates have risen anyway across the state as a result of the bogus “drought.”

In the Feb. 6 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, NRDC attorney Doug Obegi said there are three “facts” and three “myths” about the Sacramento Delta.  Like any slick attorney, he is working on you as if you were on a jury to make sure you are persuaded of his case.

The Delta is where most of the water runoff from the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range ends up.  California depends on the Delta for most of its water for farms and cites, as well as fishing and water recreation.

To understand the big issues with the upcoming Delta Plan of the State legislature’s Delta Stewardship Council and the proposed $11.1 billion Water Bond on the November ballot, it is important not to be distracted by small facts and alleged irrelevant myths.

The NRDC’s device for distracting you from the water issues of the Sacramento Delta is a purported checklist of so-called “facts” and “myths” about California’s water system.  Let’s look at them without being diverted from the larger issues.”

Read more: Cal Watchdog


California’s Delta Ecosystem Is Healthier, For Now

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“High flows of water from the melting of deep snow in the Sierra provided enough for both the tiny fish known as the delta smelt, long considered on the brink of extinction, and for the farming communities that have chafed under legal rulings requiring them to give up water to keep the smelt and its ecosystem going.

Mike Taugher reported in The Contra Costa Times that an index reflecting the smelt’s abundance had seen a 10-fold increase, from a score of 29 in 2010 to 343 in 2011. The index was at its highest level in a decade, though still less than a quarter of the levelsrecorded in 1970 and 1980.

The high water levels were not necessarily the main or the only cause of the rebound — a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that changes they had pushed for in the management of the estuary could also be responsible. But there was no question that the populations of fish besides the smelt — particularly the striped bass population — also did well, although shad did not.”

Read more: New York Times


Assembly OKs Bill On Sale Of Sacramento’s Treated Wastewater

Photo retrieved from: www.inetgiant.com

“The California Assembly on Thursday approved a bill that would help the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District sell its treated wastewater as a new supply of drinking or irrigation water.

The bill, AB 134, by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, could eventually help the district offset the cost of complying with a strict new state permit that requires advanced treatment of the Sacramento metro area’s sewage effluent.

That effluent, which is discharged into the Sacramento River near Freeport, is suspected of harming the aquatic food chain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The district estimates that complying with the permit, imposed in December, could cost as much as $2 billion, possibly requiring sewage bills to triple for about 500,000 ratepayers in the region. Selling an estimated 180,000 acre-feet of treated wastewater annually could cover one-fourth of that cost.

Current law allows sewage treatment agencies to sell their wastewater. Dickinson’s bill, however, would allow the district to secure water rights equivalent to its effluent volume, substantially increasing its value. If the bill becomes law, any proposed water right would still be subject to approval by the State Water Resources Control Board.”

Read more: The Sacramento Bee

From Whiskeytown Lake to Sacramento River: New curtain will keep water cool

Big Valley Diving workers Eric Gregerson (left) and Dan Smith work Friday on the cooling curtain at Whiskeytown Lake. Photo retrieved from: www.redding.com

“There’s a massive new curtain being installed at Whiskeytown Lake to cool water released into the Sacramento River for the sake of salmon eggs.

Construction workers on contract with the Bureau of Reclamation are busy setting up the curtain, which is nearly a half-mile long and drops into the lake’s water as much as 110 feet, said Bob Gee, a mechanical engineer for the bureau. He said the $3-million project should be completed by the end of the month.

The old $2-million rubber curtain, installed in 1993, already is gone, Gee said.

“It had a lot of holes in it,” he said.

The holes were caused by the curtain rubbing against chains linking buoys holding the top of the curtain to anchors on the lake bottom, Gee said.

“It just had deteriorated,” said Brian Person, manager for the bureau’s Northern California Area Office at Shasta Dam. “So it was time for a replacement.”

Bureau engineers redesigned this curtain and are using a different material to try to avoid the problem. The old curtain was made out of Hypalon, a synthetic rubber also used in rafts and roofing. The new curtain is made of reinforced polypropylene, a thick fabric also used as a liner for landfills, waste ponds and fish hatcheries.

The new 2,400-foot-long curtain should last at least 15 years, Gee said. The curtain blocks warm water from the lake’s surface from going into a tunnel leading to the Sacramento River. There will be about a 30-foot gap between the bottom of the curtain and the bottom of the lake, allowing cold water to flow into the tunnel.”

Read more: Redding.com


Effort Falters on San Francisco Bay Delta

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a federal and state initiative, would re-engineer the delta to make it safe for native species and would establish a framework for water distribution for the next 50 years. The delta, where California’s two largest rivers come together, supplies about one-quarter of the freshwater used by about 23 million Californians.

The goals of the plan are to keep vegetables and fruit trees growing in the Central Valley, taps running in Southern California and native fish swimming in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and in the briny western reaches of the delta, which the rivers feed and give it its formal name.

But the Westlands Water District, which serves some of the wealthiest and most powerful agricultural interests, has pulled out of the negotiations, saying it doubts it will get the water deliveries it had expected.

“The original purpose was to restore our water supply,” said Tom Birmingham, the general manager of the district, which snakes along the western edge of the Central Valley and serves 600 farms, according to its Web site.

The route the water takes is not without risks. Because of 160 years of farming and the construction of 1,100 miles of levees, delta lands have sunk and are now 3 to 20 feet below sea level. Mindful of how Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, planners are also focusing on the possibility that a big earthquake or storm could break crucial levees and allow saltwater from the bay to inundate the delta, which could shut off a large source of the freshwater supply for months.

Among the proposed solutions to the environmental and engineering issues is a $13 billion tunnel that would tap into the Sacramento River farther upstream and divert water around the delta. The tunnel, which could be 33 feet in diameter and 33 miles long, would be designed to be more resilient to earthquakes. It could also eliminate the springtime problem of newly hatched young smelt being sucked into giant pumps south of the delta that pull the river water into the distribution system.”

Read more: New York Times

American Rivers announces America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ of 2010


retrieved from: grdodge.org

“American Rivers today released its most anticipated report of the year,America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ of 2010. The 25th anniversary edition of the report spotlights ten rivers facing the most urgent threats, and also features key endangered river success stories from the past two decades.

“The number one river on the list is the Upper Delaware, where gas drilling threatens the drinking water for 17 million people across New York and Pennsylvania.

“The threats facing this year’s rivers are more pressing than ever, from gas drilling that could pollute the drinking water of millions of people, to the construction of costly and unnecessary new dams, to outdated flood management that threatens public safety,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.

“But the report isn’t all bad news. Thanks to the publicity America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ generates, we have enjoyed tremendous victories over the past 25 years, from the Penobscot in Maine to the Big Sunflower in Mississippi to the Klamath in California.”

“The report proves that when citizens take action, we can achieve great victories for our rivers and clean water,” said Wodder.”

read more: American Rivers