Like Old Man River, another year has rolled by in California’s water world and, as usual, things have gotten worse. The year started with recurring news reports of the continuing decline of several critical fish species in the Bay-Delta Estuary, which is also the source of drinking water for 23 million Californians.
Then in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last summer came sobering news that the fragile Delta levee system near Sacramento and Stockton could collapse in a major earthquake or a horrendous storm event, causing massive destruction and loss of life. Undeterred, developers proposed another 100,000 homes in the Delta region — below the levees!
Last month the state’s Little Hoover Commission released a report (PDF) criticizing “CALFED,” the consortium of state and federal agencies created in 1994 to “solve” the problems of the Delta. More than a decade and $3 billion later, the Little Hoover Commission report notes CALFED has little to claim in the way of improvements for the Delta or the state’s water problems.
“Frustration with CALFED is warranted,” the commission t... Read more