Failing to solve California's looming water crisis
The Delta is a political swamp (pun intended) due to long-standing environmental issues, such as "rare and endangered" fish, "salt water intrusion" and sensitive habitats at the edge of the historical marsh (Jepson Prairie).
Expecting the bizarro political forces in California to be able to do the right thing to conserve fresh water is almost beyond comprehension.
I used to read this blog a lot, but farcebork stopped sending me notifications for unknown reasons.
I was in the Rio Vista area about a week ago, and ran across an employee at the Ryde Hotel who said he heard from old timers that the Delta region has been mostly undeveloped since Prohibition because some super rich old money family (Comstock silver, 1800s) had purchased a large oil/gas field there, that has mostly gone unexploited.
fwiw, the bakery in downtown Rio Vista has excellent Cambodian soup (similar to Vietnamese Pho).
The old China "town" area in Locke, just upstream from Walnut Grove, is rumored to be up for world heritage site designation soon.
There are two famous river crossing ferries still operating (by the State of California Transportation Dept.) upstream from Rio Vista that I keep trying to take, but they are intermittent and when I've gone lately, they had just closed for the day.
Many areas of the delta are surprising (very lush compared to most of California) and driving/cycling/boating in that area is like time travel due to the lack of modern development.
This is an excellent story about a small landowner and recreational business dude in the Delta beating the vast legal death machine of the State of California:
Hrm. I appear to live in the region labeled "Sorta Fucked".
The state has sold close to $24B in "water" bonds in the last decade and with that has built basically no storage as the population doubled since the Oroville Dam finished under then Gov. Reagan.
Global warming has basically nothing to do with why CA's one party state will have a never ending drought emergency. Everything to do with having come of age during a (for the West) relatively water abundant 100 year period. Go back 2000 years, 300 year droughts are the norm not an aberration
According to lore, the largest and most powerful political lobby in the Delta region are the pear growers that have a monopoly on canning Fruit Cocktails for national and world distribution. Holy Maraschino Cherry!
They insist on public resources to maintain the aging levees far beyond any reasonable profit level or public benefit from the agriculture. Most of the delta should probably be returned to marsh for wildlife, fish, ecotourism and pre-emptive flood protection for upstream communities.
All of the farmland in the Delta is extremely lush, ancient marsh, almost like peat moss. The problem is that all the levees were built by hand, mostly by Chinese workers, about 100-125 years ago. The land surface on most of the farms has subsided as much as 50 feet below water level on the non-land side of the levees. The water pressure differential can be extreme, and cause severe flood risk to Delta farmers during large storms and high water in case of levee failure.
If you look at old CA maps you will see Lake Tulare. It is interesting we did have a 'reservoir' at one point. This may be a more pratical solution along your thought lines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulare_Lake
How ridiculous is it to think about pumping some of that river flow over a different hill into a better location for a reservoir? Leaving aside questions of whether such a project could ever get approved in California, or completed there prior to the heat death of the universe.
Having lived in Elk Grove for about 10 years I would have loved to have seen this with the exception of my private range next to Walnut Grove . . . I get it, it would be ugly but very effective, and the nuts in CA probably would twist off if someone proposed it. The Delta is one of the most fascinating areas in that it produces some of the finest fruits in the world, the best pears and the Bing cherries are to die for. Fun blog BJ, thanks.
I saw the email stating that some new discussion about an alternative is going on in the HWFO slack channel?
I uninstalled slack on the old Win10 PC (running on fumes) I'm typing this on.
Can you post a summary? Thnx
I was just thinking about the hydrologic cycle today as I saw a thunderstorm in the distance. I could be wrong, but wouldn't the condensation of water vapor into rainfall take heat out of the atmosphere? Is there a built-in feedback loop that dampens atmospheric warming?
What's preventing us from refilling aquifers if they already act as large reservoirs. What are the practical implications against why we aren't already doing this?