Despite the recent storms, California can’t rely on record-setting water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. That’s the message from the Draft State Water Project Delivery Reliability Report, released by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) on Tuesday. The report shows less water available from the State Water Project on average than what was projected for 2005 and 2007, years that saw a dramatic increase in pumping from the Delta and a devastating decline of the region’s ecological health. DWR cites pumping restrictions required to address ecosystem health and climate change as significant factors in the downward adjustments.
Fortunately, California communities have many cost-effective options to enhance regional self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on Delta pumping, including water use efficiency, water recycling, storm water capture, and groundwater recharge. And to sweeten the deal, these types of regional projects will be prioritized in the next round of Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) funding.