ICYMI 3/25/21: Droughts, Floods, and the Bay-Delta

New priorities needed for California’s next drought – Darius Waiters (Restore the Delta) and Brandon Dawson (Sierra Club), CalMatters 3/25/21
A series of key decisions await Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state heads back into a potential drought.
So this seems like the right moment to review what happened last time: Water was prioritized for big agriculture at the expense of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, endangered species and California communities. The State Water Board, in a review of the drought of 2014-15, found operations “not sustainable.”
We hope Newsom will prevent a repeat of that disaster by setting new priorities for a prolonged drought: Protecting the human right to water for drinking and sanitation, protecting public health for those who live adjacent to our rivers, and protecting endangered species.

Flow Rules Stalled As Tunnel Advances – San Francisco Estuary Magazine, March 2021
Indeed, deeply ominous signs abound. Recent fish sampling programs found only a small handful of Delta smelt, and scientists are openly discussing 2021 as the year the species goes extinct in the wild. As for salmon, the pre-season ocean abundance forecast is only about 271,000 fish—about 200,000 less than in 2020—indicating that fishermen will face significant restrictions this year, according to John McManus of the Golden State Salmon Association. And last year the Delta was plagued by some of the worst harmful algae blooms ever seen, in part because of inadequate freshwater flows.
“I just can’t stress enough how bad the water quality was here this last year,” says Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.

Delta Study Predicts Stronger Floods and Less Water Supply – San Francisco Estuary Magazine, March 2021
The council’s overview reveals a grim outlook for the millions of people that are tethered to the region’s water: drought similar to that experienced in 2012-2016 will be five to seven times more likely by 2050. This will result in more severe and frequent water shortages and, as the report bluntly states, “lower reliability of Delta water exports.”

Restore the Delta General Membership Zoom Meeting
On April 1st at 6 pm, we are hosting a General Membership Meeting. We will be sending out details and the agenda in the weeks to come! We will be giving updates on government processes, the voluntary agreements, flows, drought, flood, and the tunnel. Registration for this event is required. You can register here. We look forward to seeing you!

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