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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

Delta Water Serves Up 75% of California's Water

2007 Silicon Valley Projections that cover many statewide California issues - environment, education, health and more.

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California water conservation

Why should SoCal business leaders be concerned about the Delta levees?

I hear little about the Delta or the pending levee problem in Southern California business conversations or media. I know logically that the Delta water supplies Southern California's drinking and industrial and much of its agricultural water supplies. But it seems so distant. So out of our control. But after reading another report from Northern California...the picture began to clear.

The Report is "2007 Silicon Valley Projections: Tough Challenges - Hopeful Signs", published by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

There are more than 1100 miles of levees in the Delta. Levees are a critical part of the Delta’s structure and ensure that residential and agricultural lands are protected from flooding, and that salt water from the San Francisco Bay is not drawn into the Delta where it can contaminate drinking and irrigation water. However, there are several stresses on delta levees all adding up at once. According to Dr. Jeffrey Mount, of UC Davis, the Delta ‘looses ground’ due to soil decomposition, subsidence and erosion at a rate of 23,000 cubic meters of additional space below sea level every day. Some parts of the Delta are approaching 20 feet below sea level. As this volume of below sea level space increases, more and more pressure is put on the levees. Because it is not possible to stop these changes, California will eventually face some difficult and costly choices about how to manage the delta and the levees that protect people, infrastructure, property and water supply resources.

But what impact will that have on business?

State highways, railroad lines, water supply pipelines that serve much of the San Francisco Bay area, energy transmission lines, and petroleum pipelines now cross the Delta, and rely on the continued stability of Delta levees. All together, more than $47 billion in infrastructure is protected by central valley levees. It's not just about drinking water...or swimming pools. It's about our business infrastructure -- moving goods north and south and even east and west.

And then throw in some food impact, "In addition to the concerns regarding levees, the Delta is also facing fishery ecosystem deterioration and declining water quality....some known pressures on the Delta include; increased urban and agricultural run-off, impacts of invasive species, fresh water diversions/lower flowthrough volumes, and changes in seasonal flow patterns as rain replaces snow in the Sierras and spring thaws come earlier and faster due to global warming."

It all leads back to immediate impact of business and industrial loads being put on the natural resources infrastructure. Our business infrastructure is merely built on top of that natural infrastructure, and as it goes, so goes our roads and sewers and neighborhoods.

I grew up in the country. My father believed in simple living and took that philosophical approach to living and working very seriously. We lived the equivalent of a 'third world lifestyle' in the middle of a very prosperous America. We had a well and it occasionally ran almost dry -- we adjusted our water use. We grew organic vegetables and fruits -- we put in a lot of manual labor and recycled all our waste back into the soil. Life without abundant resources is not easy. And it's not easy conserving them, but the result of short sightedness is a much harder life in our old age...and in our children's lives. It's that close.

Global warming or not, the population explosion is here and has been here for the past 20 years. We've just ignored it. And our growing population is going to be hit hard with the upcoming shortages of life's basics -- water, clean air, food and even the luxury we all cling to with our last gasping breath -- transportation.

This report about the Silicon Valley isn't just about Northern California. It's about the whole state and it includes strategic information about the key issues facing us as California business leaders:

  • Market Dynamics
  • Transportation
  • Education and Workforce Preparation
  • Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Housing
  • Tax Policy

I highly recommend this report: 2007 Silicon Valley Projections. These 56 pages of solid data and projections will help you take planning for your next year's challenges more responsible, more sustainable. Your plans can help face the levee challenge...before they become a very real catastrophe. It's time to conserve -- big time -- and your steadfast leadership is needed in every decision you make. The payoff is survival and if we're lucky, thriving!

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Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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