Wednesday July 13, 2022

The Press

In an effort to better prepare for future drought conditions as the climate changes, the California Department of Water Resources has released a draft environmental impact report analyzing potential construction effects of future drought salinity barriers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The 2021 Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier Project consists of constructing a temporary rock barrier across West False River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The state says a salinity barrier is needed in response to the current drought. This is important, according to one state water department official.

“Keeping saltwater from the central Delta is a priority, as a large portion of the state’s freshwater supplies travel through this part of the Delta,” said water department spokeswoman Nancy Vogel. “The barrier would help prevent saltwater contamination of water supplies used by people who live in 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.”

The draft report looks at the impacts of installing a drought salinity barrier if needed along the West False River twice within a 10-year time frame. The barrier, which would remain in place for up to 20 months, would improve long-term planning and provide the state with greater flexibility to respond to future droughts. They are growing more frequent and extreme due to climate change, state and federal scientists have asserted.

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