Thursday, March 13, 2014

The water wars intensify

  • East Bay Water District Eyes Emergency Supply From Sacramento River
    It would mark the first time EBMUD has used a supply of water it first arranged to purchase from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1970. The agreement would have allowed the district to pump as much as 150,000 acre-feet of emergency water from the American River east of Sacramento. After decades of environmental litigation, the district became partners with the Sacramento County Water Agency in a $900 million project that looks much different from the original plan.

    The two agencies jointly built a pumping plant on the Sacramento River in Freeport, just south of the capital city. The plant, opened in 2011, allows EBMUD to ship water from the Sacramento through a series of canals to its Mokelumne Aqueduct, which serves the East Bay. Under its contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, EBMUD can draw on the Sacramento River supply only during dry years.

  • California to dam Delta sloughs if drought persists
    The temporary dams would consist of rock barriers piled across the entrance to three Delta channels: Sutter Slough and Steamboat Slough, branching off the Sacramento River near Courtland; and False River, branching off the San Joaquin River near Oakley.

    In the case of the first two sloughs, DWR project manager Mark Holderman said the goal is to make the most of limited freshwater outflows that might be available in the main stem of the Sacramento River. The barriers would allow that fresh water to be held in the river, rather than branching into the side channels. This would concentrate its force and better hold back sediment that naturally would creep in from San Francisco Bay as river flows dwindle because of the drought.

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