Southern California has a problem. Its base water supply is at risk due to aging infrastructure and declining conditions in the Delta that make it increasingly difficult to convey water through the Delta. A Saturday outing to Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, California led to an unexpected opportunity to hear why the Southern California Water Committee (“SWSC”) sees California WaterFix as the solution.
In last week’s post, I wrote about how scientists at Stanford University identified approximately 2.2 billion acre-feet of water deep underground below California’s aquifers. While the “new” find that the Stanford group identified may be interesting, the economic and regulatory challenges surrounding this water supply may make it impractical for widespread use. However, are there alternatives to this water supply in California and other areas of the United States? Could similar projects be brought to bear in these areas? And if not, what are some potential alternatives to provide thirsty California with water supplies during a drought? I will address these issues in this post. Continue reading
In my last Hydrowonk post, I discussed how challenges moving water through the Delta has created even more scarce water supplies in parts of the Central Valley. Despite the fact that Lakes Shasta and Oroville are at 92% and 94% capacity, (Lake Oroville is within 18 feet of the crest – a reality unimaginable just a year ago when the reservoir looked like this) a series of factors is stopping the water stored north from flowing to parched farmers and cities in southern California. Many water pundits and industry leaders have pointed out how the drought has changed people’s mindsets about water use, and it has affected how water district managers view long-term supplies. For example, many managers did not believe that the Central Valley Project would get zero allocation for 2014 and 2015, and that the State Water Project would deliver a 5% allocation in 2014. As the Golden State enters into the fifth year of drought, unreliable water supplies are causing many districts to look for alternative sources. Continue reading