Take Two for November 5, 2013

Can Gov. Brown's water tunnel plan solve central California's water problems?

California Water

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services, glances at a diagram showing the water flow into and out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 14, 2013.

It was on this day in 1913 when William Mulholland stood at the end of the L.A. Aqueduct, bringing the end to what was a massive engineering feat that brought water from the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains hundreds of miles to the city. 

As the water began to flow into Los Angeles, he said those infamous words: "There it is, take it." The city did take it, and the more it took, the more it grew. Until the aqueduct wasn't enough.

Today, the water from the Owens Valley makes up only about a third of LA's water supply. A good portion of the rest comes from the Sacramento bay Delta through the state water project.

That source also serves millions of acres of farmland in the central valley, but aging infrastructure and concerns over environmental effects in the Delta have made it unreliable in recent years. 

Governor Jerry Brown has been pushing a plan to make water supply both more reliable and more environmentally sound: The water tunnels. Here to tell us more is Lauren Sommer, environment reporter for KQED public radio in San Francisco.


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