In the second of two Delta Conveyance Deep Dive episodes on seismic risks in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, we hear from two of California's leading seismology experts about the vulnerability of the Delta to a major seismic event.
What is Delta conveyance?
Delta conveyance refers to State Water Project (SWP) infrastructure in the vast network of waterways comprising the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) that collects and moves fresh affordable water to homes, farms and businesses throughout major regions of the state from the Bay Area to southern California. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is the owner and operator of the SWP and is responsible for all associated upgrades and maintenance, including the proposed Delta Conveyance Project that will modernize SWP conveyance.
Why is Delta conveyance important?
The Delta is the hub for much of the state’s water supply. Two-thirds of California’s water originates in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as snowpack, eventually flowing through the Delta, where, consistent with water rights, including applicable water quality requirements, it is delivered to more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The infrastructure that enables conveyance for California’s primary water supply is critical to the health of local communities and the success of our state’s economy.
Why is this project needed?
Because the SWP relies on the Delta’s natural channels to convey water, it is vulnerable to earthquake and sea level rise. According to the United States Geological Survey, there’s a 72% chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake occurring in the Bay Area by 2043 that could cause levees in the Delta to fail, crippling the state’s ability to deliver fresh water. As sea levels continue to rise, the Delta will be faced with increasing saltwater intrusion, which threatens fresh water supplies flowing through the Delta. Climate change is also expected to affect the type and timing of precipitation. Certain pumping restrictions in the south Delta can prevent the SWP from reliably capturing water when it is available, especially from storm events. The Project would add new diversions in the north Delta to promote a more resilient and flexible SWP in the face of unstable future conditions.
The best available science demonstrates that these are real, serious threats to California’s primary water supply. We need to take action now to upgrade Delta infrastructure, recognizing that this process will take years to complete improvements. Recent events have also underscored the need to protect public health and safety by taking the appropriate steps now before it’s too late.
View more frequently asked questions related to the Delta Conveyance Project.
Delta Conveyance Deep Dive Feature Video
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Delta Conveyance Updates
In the first of two Delta Conveyance Deep Dive episodes on seismic risks in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Laurence Sanati, head of the DWR Flood Systems Analysis Section, speaks about the potential consequences of a major earthquake in or near the Delta and the measures currently in place to deal with such an event.
In the first episode in the Delta Conveyance Team Spotlight video series, we spoke with the project’s Executive Director Tony Meyers about his long and eventful career in engineering, including work on some of DWR’s most ambitious and significant infrastructure projects.
Kathryn Mallon is an exceptionally talented and competent engineer. She has served the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) and the Delta Conveyance Project with creativity, efficiency and enthusiasm in a time of critical importance.