Threat Of Water Rationing Is A Wake-Up Call
LA Daily News
Don’t blame the
smelt. A district judge cited the danger of wiping out the tiny Sacramento Delta fish when he imposed tough restrictions that threaten Southern California’s water supply. But if it hadn’t been the smelt, it would have been something else.
Eventually, something was going to arise to make the state face the fact that its water demands can’t keep going up indefinitely while the water supply keeps shrinking.
The preciousness of water in this semidesert state is something that has escaped the attention of California’s politicians. That’s because all they can see is how growth replenishes public treasuries and provides more money to squander every year.
They're Going To Get Worse This Winter
There’s only one thing completely clear about a federal judge’s week-old order telling California water agencies to protect an endangered fish: Those of us who rely on Delta water – and that is nearly every Californian – are going to have to make do with less of it for at least the next year. Just how much less will depend on the weather and the fish themselves.
At this point, experts are estimating that cuts in the amount of water being sent through the giant California Aqueduct pumps near Tracy will equal a 15 percent to 35 percent reduction in water allocations up and down the state. A worst-case scenario being floated claims that 2 million acre feet next year – enough water for more than 1 million acres of farmland or 8 million households – could be withheld.
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger's Extraordinary Ruling To Save The Endangered Delta Smelt Could Cost California As Much As 2 Million Acre-Feet Of Water A Year
SACRAMENTO – A federal judge yesterday ordered a dramatic slowdown in pumping water to Southern California – an unprecedented decision aimed at protecting a tiny fish in the Sacramento delta, but one that will have widespread economic and political repercussions across the state.
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger’s extraordinary ruling to save the endangered delta smelt could cost California as much as 2 million acre-feet of water a year – enough for 4 million people – and raises the prospects of rationing and thousands of acres of idled farmland.
Official Says The Decision In An Environmental Suit Could Force A One-Third Reduction In Shipments From The Delta To The Southland.
Los Angeles Times – James Ricci and Eric Bailey
A federal judge Friday ordered protective measures for a tiny endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a mandate state water officials warned could cut Northern California water exports to Southern California by a third or more.
Environmental lawyers disputed the officials’ draconian assessment of U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger’s decision to protect the delta smelt, a creature that biologists say is facing extinction in large part because of increased pumping from the delta. The fish are weak swimmers and tend to be sucked into the water system’s massive pumps and killed.
Water officials said the judge’s decision could be the most significant ever on the state’s ability to deliver water through the delta, the key crossroads for the movement of water supplies to Southern California.
“Desalination must be included in any discussion of future water sources for Orange County."