Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sac Bee states obvious about Delta

Finally, the voices of common sense are speaking up.

The Sacramento Bee's editorial today is basically what I've been saying for two years — there are plenty of people with a stake in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's health, and all of those people need to give up something or risk losing everything. Without compromise, there just isn't enough water to go around.

Before the state plunges feet-first into a new generation of water works, though, it must recognize the limits of its hydrological heart – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

For far too long, California has treated the Delta and its vast watershed as a resource to be tapped and exploited.

Excessive pumping and diversions, from all parts of the vast watershed, have hurt fish and other wildlife. Excessive conversion of wetlands has turned the Delta into a mono-culture of sinking islands, vulnerable to floods and earthquakes. Excessive pollution has made the Delta a filthy place to draw drinking water.

We have to realize that we can't just insert another straw and keep on drinking. Two very dry years combined with California's unquenchable (and growing) thirst have brought the Delta to the brink of collapse. If water-use-as-usual goes unchanged, the Delta will turn from unhealthy to untenable, and we'll really be up a dry creek.

In other words, any water plan for the state must be, as the Bee said, "grounded in reality." Because "promising everything to everyone is how the Delta ended up in its current mess."

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