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New Study Calls For More Water To Flow Down Valley Rivers Into Bay

Ken Lund
San Joaquin River, California

A new study calls for more freshwater to make it from Valley rivers all the way to the San Francisco Bay Delta. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.


The Bay Institute found that flows from Central Valley rivers into the bay is less than half of what it could be if river diversions weren’t in play. Bay Institute Scientist Jon Rosenfield says these water diversions for agriculture and cities has serious ramifications for marine ecosystems.


“It’s natural that people would look to agriculture to reduce its water demands when it’s very clear that we are not using water sustainably," Rosenfield says. "Agriculture can adjust. Some of those ways will be painful."


Rosenfield's group hopes the State Water Resource Control Board makes the decision to have all those who divert water to allow more to flow towards the bay. But California Water Alliance Executive Director Aubrey Bettencourt says decades of diverting water to help the environment is working.


“By dedicating more of this life giving resource to a theory of prescription that has supposed to be working for the last 25 years but isn’t is only going to further endanger other parts of our state," Bettencourt says.


She says too much water is already flowing past farms and cities that need it.The state is holding meetings this month to gather input on ways to improve the health of the delta. A final decision will be made next summer.


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