The title of this post is part of the problem. Since we invented this thing called a visioning process it has become a tool for politicians to avoid taking responsibility for any and all positions that they take. It isn't their position, it came from the visioning process.
That is pretty much what happened with California's water. It has always been known that California's water supply is over allocated, even in an average rainfall year. There are just more demands on our water supply than nature is capable of meeting.
Most of that water, especially that which originates as melting Sierra snow, eventually flows through the Sacramento / San Joaquin River Delta. So, before I start down the path of talking about the Delta Vision Foundation's recommendations, I should make sure that everyone has the same set of facts about the Delta.
The following is from the publication, Delta Facts accessible at the Delta Vision Foundation web site. One key figure is the population, just over half a million... not enough votes when stacked up against San Diego, just a little more than Long Beach and we have not even considered how many voters there are in Los Angeles. Politicians count votes first.
- Population: 515,264 (2000 Census)
- Counties: Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Yolo, Alameda
- Major Cities Partly Within the Delta: Sacramento, Stockton, West Sacramento, Oakley, and Rio Vista
- Levees (total mileage, 1987): 1,100
- Rivers flowing into the Delta: Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Cosumnes, and Calaveras
- Diversions Directly from the Delta: State Water Project,Federal Central Valley Project,Contra Costa Canal, North Bay Aqueduct, City of Vallejo, Western Delta Industry, 1,800+ Agricultural Users
- Water Supply: Drinking water for 25 million people; supports California’s trillion dollar economy(eighth largest in the world) and $27 billion agricultural industry (nation’s number one)
- Agriculture (2001): Average Annual Gross Value totals more than $2 billion. Crops include corn, grain, hay, alfalfa, tomatoes, asparagus, pears, and wine grapes. There are over 500,000 acres of agricultural land in the Delta.
- Wildlife: 52 mammals, 22 reptiles and amphibian species, 225 birds, and 54 species of fish. The Deltais also home to approximately 260 invasive species of plants and animals.
- Recreation: Over 12 million visitors annually. There are 290 shoreline recreational areas, 300 marinas, and about 500,000 boaters. The Delta has 57,000 acres of navigable waterways. (Figures from the Department of Boating and Waterways)