Jul 18, 2008

Report Suggests Canal Bypassing California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Public Policy Institute of California recommends cities stop drawing water from the delta and look to Sacramento River as source

Cities in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area should stop drawing water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and should build a canal around it, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California, The Associated Press reported.

A study by the institute recommends that cities in the area stop drawing water from the delta, saying it's an increasingly unstable source.

A canal that would draw fresh water from the Sacramento River would deliver better quality water to more than 25 million Californians and farmers in the Central Valley because it would bypass the salty mixture found in the delta, according to institute officials.

"Building a peripheral canal is not without controversy, but it appears to be the best way to maintain a reliable water supply," said Ellen Hanak, the institute's associate director.

There has long been a contentious debate over such a canal; voters rejected plans for a canal in 1982.

Since then, much has changed, with the delta’s health declining and climate change raising concerns about water supply, the institute noted.

Separately, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger created a panel to examine possible routes for a canal.