Katherman: SoCal Water Supply Crisis Necessitates Conservation & Reuse
As California’s water infrastructure ages and grows increasingly vulnerable, the need for water supply alternatives has become a critical priority. Yet the state cannot muster up the resources and political capital necessary for a comprehensive infrastructural response. Rob Katherman, Board Director of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, argues that Californians, especially Southern Californians, should look to conservation and reuse as the solution to their water problems. In this MIR exclusive article Katherman details projects currently underway, from conservation education to expanded water treatment facilities, designed to mitigate California’s water crisis sooner rather than later.
We can’t wait for the State to fix the Sacramento Delta. Our water supply from the Sacramento Delta faces potential catastrophe from even a moderate earthquake. The unreinforced earthen levees built more than 100 years ago to prevent the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers from flooding farms in the Delta would give way to the shaking caused by an earthquake.
Many of the “islands” in the southern portion of the Delta, which consist of spongy peat moss material, have subsided from farming use over a century and are now 20-30 feet below the level of the rivers. A breach in these levees would cause seawater to intrude and contaminate our drinking water supply from the Delta for several years.
We need to take advantage of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to finance the co-equal goals of restoring the Delta ecosystem and providing a conveyance facility under or around the Delta.