California's water crisis
California's water crisis is no secret. With 25 million additional residents expected by 2040, the state's rapidly growing population is quickly outpacing available water supplies – which are themselves shrinking. While demand for water is growing, the resource is becoming scarcer. New water quality regulations and environmental requirements are shrinking supplies formerly available for people and crops. In addition, supplies from the Colorado River face increasing demand as our neighbors, like Arizona and Nevada, continue to grow.
A major souce of California’s water problem is one of timing. Much of our water arrives in "wet year" winter months; but our greatest demand occurs in "dry year" summer months. Accordingly, the state often has more water than it can use during "wet years" but that "wet year" water may not be available in "dry years."
A need for more storage
It is widely recognized that we need more water storage facilities to capture excess "wet" water and make it available in "dry" periods. And increased storage facilities – along with aggressive conservation, recycling, reclamation and water transfers – must be a key component of California's strategy to address our water crisis. By converting two lowland Delta islands to Reservoir Islands, the Delta Wetlands Project would provide significant new water storage in close proximity to existing state and federal water conveyance infrastructure – and would do so in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast and one of California's most important ecosystems. Additionally, it is the heart of the state's water system, supplying water to 25 million people and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. The State of California has established co-equal goals for the Delta: "more reliable water supply for California" and "protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem."
The Delta Wetlands Project is consistent with the state’s co-equal goals: It will provide 215,000 acre-feet of new water supplies for California and 9,000 acres of habitat restoration in the heart of the Delta. It is also consistent with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and all other visions for a sustainable Delta.