The Sacramento Delta: “An intricacy of endless legal troubles”

A government report in 1874 said if Sacramento Delta water wasn’t handled correctly “the result will be a partial and temporary good for only a part of the valley.”

How prescient they were. JFleck uncovered this illuminating report. Because the Delta continues to be mismanaged, primarily becuase they are too many powerful players competing for too little water.

The current Bay Delta Conservation Plan appears to be designed to shut some water users out. This will not end well. But then it hasn’t really ended well for the Delta for over 150 years.

The BDCP is not and never has been about a process for solving a pressing common pool resource problem. This is about offering water users “regulatory assurance” about how much water they’ll be able to extract from the system without ending up in court on the wrong end of an Endangered Species Act lawsuit, and what those water users will have to offer in return to help buy that regulatory assurance.

The Sacramento Delta supplies much of the water for Central Valley agriculture and for the ever thirsty gorilla of southern California.

The current war in the Delta concerns the Peripheral Canal that California Jerry Brown seems intent on resurrecting. It will cost billions and siphon water south before it reaches the Delta, with unpredictable and probably deleterious effects on the Delta itself. No one knows how it will be financed and the lawsuits have probably already been filed.

The “intricacy of endless legal troubles” continues.