As a Santa Ana resident, you may not realize that about one third of your drinking water comes from the Delta, an expansive inland river delta and estuary in Northern California where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers converge. Measuring a total area of 1,100 square miles, the Delta is an invaluable natural resource that supports a complex ecosystem and supplies water to millions of Californians.
It is here where the state’s two most important water delivery systems, the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and the California State Water Project (SWP), transport water to 25 million people throughout the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Southern California. Water from the Delta also supports the state’s agriculture industry that feeds millions.
What’s At Stake
Years of using the Delta as farmland has damaged the delicate ecosystem. Also, in its current state, the Delta’s water delivery system is highly unreliable and extremely vulnerable to a natural disaster, such as a large earthquake. Experts predict that the Delta’s 20 levees, which hold back salt water from the San Francisco Bay, could simultaneously fail during a magnitude 6.5 quake.
The future of a reliable water supply for Californians depends upon a healthy Delta ecosystem and upgrades to its water delivery infrastructure. Without these upgrades, Southern California residents could be without an adequate drinking water supply for weeks or even months in the event of a large earthquake.
There’s a lot at stake, which is why it is important for Santa Ana residents to learn about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. This 50-year habitat conservation plan was introduced to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and secure California’s water supply by building a new water delivery infrastructure and operating system. Included in the plan is the construction of two earthquake-safe tunnels that would channel much of the state’s drinking water supply around the Delta region rather than through its natural estuary. These improvements are critical to a long-term reliable water supply for all of Southern California, as well as regions throughout Northern and Central California.
Doing Your Part
We all play an important part in the future of our water supply. Helping to conserve water is one. And we encourage you to learn more about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, get involved, participate in the discussion, and contact your local representatives to encourage them to support the plan.