Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Drought, Water and Politics Part II, Saving the Delta

I don't think that you can understand what is happening regarding the CA Delta if you only consider what you are being told.  There are currents running through the politics that are as dangerous as an Ocean Beach rip tide if they are ignored. I hope to lay out what I think is happening though no one is quite willing to say it... yet.   I guess that stubbornness comes with age.

To begin with, we all need to understand just what the delta is and one good way to do this is to view the recently posted Youtube version of Restore the Delta's award winning documentary, Over Troubled Waters.  Words are not sufficient to tell us all we need to know.  We need the imagery.

There are some who do not think that the Delta can be saved, or at least not all of it.  There are two interlocked issues involved.  First, there is climate change with the inevitable result of sea level rise. That interferes with the multiple use of the Delta and it's water: agricultural land, water supply and an ecology that supports all of it's non-human species.  To view the scope of this problem, we need to look at a map.  The views on these maps show just how much of the Delta is threatened.

I have long espoused the view that the CA Dept of Water Resources has no intention to protect the Delta from climate change driven sea level rise.  That is the only rationale for the twin tunnel project that makes any sense at all.  But, I was waiting to find good substantiation for that.  This past week, the Woodland, CA Daily Democrat published an OpEd by Jerry Meral that lays it all out.
Even without earthquakes and floods, Delta islands will almost certainly be inundated by sea level rise during our lifetimes -- making it no longer possible to move fresh drinking water across the Delta to the Bay Area.

Who, you might ask, is Jerry Meral?  He is a long time Jerry Brown crony from Brown's first administration.  In more recent times, he was Deputy Director of the  Dept. Water Reso.urces in charge of, among other things, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan that includes Gov Brown's major tunnel project.  Earlier this year, he  resigned and joined the National  Heritage Institute as Director of the California Water Program.

It is my opinion that Greens should withhold any support for Delta Water Projects until the State of California has a clear plan what has to be done to deal with sea level rise.  Right now, that plan is often referred to but never worked on.

Major infrastructure investments are apt to be throw away projects if they are built in the Delta.  Two current plans are the tunnel project and a decision by the Metropolitan Water District to buy 4 Delta Islands.  In both cases, the lands involved have a high probability of being inundated by sea level rise before their useful life is completed.  The southern terminus for the twin tunnel project is called the Clifton Court Forebay, and that is only 1 M above mean high tide.  This could by severely affected by 2050 during very high tides. 

I wonder how what the residents of the Delta are going to do as they slowly lose their homes and livelihoods.  I also wonder how the State of CA might attempt to mitigate the financial ruin of those families.  It is not something than anyone wants to talk about and for good reason.  They have no answers.

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