California will install a drought barrier in the Sacramento Delta to prevent salt water intrusion from the S.F. Bay into the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. In normal water years there is enough water flowing in the rivers to prevent intrusion. However, the current drought is so severe enough that, for the first time ever, these emergency measures are needed.
Water from these rivers is sent to the Central Valley and Southern California and is crucial for the entire state. They can not be allowed to become even slightly saline.
The combination of virtually no snowpack and diminished reservoir storage has convinced federal and state wildlife and water agency managers that an emergency salinity barrier on West False River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will be needed to repel salinity that could threaten a source of water used by 25 million Californians.
The barrier would help limit the tidal push of saltwater from San Francisco Bay into the central Delta and help minimize the amount of fresh water that must be released this summer from upstream reservoirs to repel saltwater.
Sufficient reserves in upstream reservoirs are needed to repel saltwater and prevent the contamination of water supplies for residents of the Delta; Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties, and the 25 million people who rely on the Delta-based federal and state water projects for at least some of their supplies.
It appears an El Nino is forming for real. If so, it will mean serious rain for California and the West in 2016. Let’s hope it happens.
Some scientists are predicting the possibility of a drought-busting El Nino event by 2016. Researchers at Colorado State University say El Nino has arrived and predict it will strengthen substantially in the coming months.
“Although absolutely not a guarantee of any kind, signs are pointing more and more toward the possibility of a moderate-to-strong El Nino event next winter,” said KPIX 5 meteorolgist Paul Deanno. “It’s too late to put a decent dent in the drought this water year but the author of a Washington Post article suggests hope may be closer than we think.”