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What You Can Do To Help Study the Issues: We encourage you to The California Delta learn more about the Delta, its problems, possible solutions and its important role as California’s two largest rivers converge a supply of water in the Coachella Valley. near the capital to form the Sacramento- San Joaquin River Delta. This is the largest Get Involved: Efforts to find solutions can estuary on the west coast of the Americas, be adversely affected by partisan politics or and encompasses close to 750,000 acres— special interests. Lawmakers and others in nearly 1,175 square miles. positions that can make a difference need to know how important this issue is to you. The Delta is 450 miles north of Coachella Valley—a drive of at least seven hours—yet Conserve Water: By using less water, you what happens there has tremendous impact reduce the Coachella Valley’s dependency on quality of life here. Much is wrong in the upon imported water and help the region Delta. If solutions are not found, Coachella become more self-sufficient and less likely to be affected by what happens elsewhere. The Valley will suffer the consequences along with the rest of California. COACHELL A VALLEY California Two crucial conveyance systems— the State Water Project and the Central Valley WATER DISTRICT Post Office Box 1058 Delta Project—rely upon water that is pumped from the Delta into the California Aqueduct Sacramento Coachella, California 92236 Telephone: (760) 398-2651 is as close as your next and several canals and other waterways. Twenty-three million people depend on Delta Fax: (760) 398-3711 Email: email@example.com glass of water in the Delta for at least some of their water. Website: www.cvwd.org Millions of acres of farmland are irrigated (Published in August 2008) The statewide with water taken from the Delta, which has thriving agriculture of its own. Coachella Photos by Dale Kolke, California DWR & Robert Keeran, CVWD The Delta is a popular destination for fishing and boating enthusiasts, naturalists Valley Coachella Valley and others who enjoy its unique features. A Delta in Crisis A Tiny Fish, Big Problems The reliability of Coachella Valley’s supply Delta rivers are major commercial routes, of State Water Project water is in jeopardy. and its natural and man-made waterways Looking for Answers The Valley Must Import Water extend for 1,000 miles. The region is home Delta stakeholders represent very diverse More than 1,100 miles of earthen levees to more than 750 species of wildlife and Although Coachella Valley is blessed with protect farm “islands” and other land from interests and haven’t yet reached consensus a vast aquifer, the region has relied upon plants —some are unique to the Delta and flooding. Most were built 130 years ago by on a list of priorities or responsibilities. imported water to protect and replenish others are protected by state and federal dredging sloughs and are little more than endangered species laws. Previous attempts to find solutions to groundwater supplies since the late 1940s, unstable piles of dirt subject to collapse. the Delta’s myriad of problems are viewed when the Coachella Canal brought Colorado Delta water quality is adversely affected by many as a failure because of piecemeal River water to the region’s farmlands. Due to subsidence and soil erosion, the by agricultural and urban by-products. The approaches, which led to spending a lot of islands are dropping further below rising introduction of non-native invasion species, Deliveries of State Water Project water— money but garnered very few results. sea levels. Climate changes mean less snow accidentally or for sports fishing, has further through a unique exchange agreement for pack, more immediate runoff during rainy damaged the Delta’s ecosystem. A governor-appointed Blue Ribbon panel Colorado River water with the Metropolitan season and higher water levels at those has recently identified major problems— Water District—began in 1973. Since then, The native Delta smelt is on federal and including land subsidence, seismicity, rises times. All contribute to levee instability. state threatened species lists. While several more than two million acre-feet of water in sea level, climate changes, exotic species has been used to replenish groundwater. There is fear that a major earthquake will factors likely contributed to its demise, the and ecosystem changes, population growth cause numerous levees to break, allowing only action so far has been the ruling by a and urbanization. All could adversely affect The entitlements of the Coachella Valley brackish water to contaminate fresh water federal judge that because some guidelines current and future water supplies. Water District and nearby Desert Water for a decade or longer, making it unsuitable associated with the “taking” of the fish were Agency—if combined—would rank third not followed, the pumping of water from Panel research continues and a long list as drinking water and for other purposes. of possible solutions is being developed. among the 29 State Water Contractors. Those who have studied the issue report the Delta has to be reduced significantly. This will require cooperation among water To keep pace with demand by residential such an event would be a catastrophe for As a result of this legal decision, drought providers, land developers, agriculture, and business consumers, the agencies seek the state on a scale equal to or exceeding and other issues, Coachella Valley is among lawmakers, environmentalists and other to add to entitlements whenever possible, the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New regions seriously affected by the reduced special-interest groups although these do not guarantee deliveries. Orleans and surrounding areas. availability of imported Delta water. There exists a growing consensus among State Water Project average reliability has The Delta’s problems are not limited to Without solutions, the area’s development stakeholders that fixing the state Delta and gone from 68% to 63% in two years. Delta- geography, however, and already contribute and growth could be adversely impacted by solving the state’s water crisis must receive related issues reduced most deliveries to significantly to the statewide water crisis the lack of a reliable, sustainable supply of equal attention. Solutions to one crisis will only 35% of entitlements in 2008. and the dire economic consequences. State Water Project water in the near future. never be found by ignoring the other.
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