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Bay Delta Myths vs. Facts

Myth We can conserve our way out of our water problems
Fact  Water use efficiency is increasing; per capita water use is decreasing.
  • Santa Clara County has reduced its water use by 15% since 1990 with a population growth of 300,000. 
  • Despite an increase in population of 28%, Alameda County Water District customers are using the same amount as they did in 1990. 
  • Zone 7 Water Agency customers have reduced their consumption by over 20% for a population that has nearly doubled! Agricultural use has been cut by over 20% through more efficient irrigation methods.

While conservation will continue to be an extremely important tool, even the greatest commitment to water use efficiency would not supplant imported water.

   
Myth We just need to fix the Delta’s levees
Fact Many of the 1,100 miles of Delta levees are built on soft peat soils around islands up to 25 feet below sea level that are continuing to sink. Replacing or shoring up these levees would be very costly and challenging, particularly in light of climate change and sea level rise.
   
Myth We don’t need a Peripheral Canal
Fact A key component to any complete Delta solution is the construction of a new water conveyance (delivery) facility. The existing system has turned the Delta, originally a fluctuating-salinity estuary, into a freshwater basin. It has also created unnatural north to south flows in the Delta, confusing native species and disturbing the ecosystem.
   
Myth Any new facilities would damage the Delta
Fact The Delta is among the most modified deltaic systems in the world. New facilities would be designed to restore natural flow patterns. A new facility would set strict limits on water flows and provide the flexibility to take advantage of increased supplies in wet winters as insurance against future dry years.
   
Myth Nothing has happened yet, so what’s the big deal?
Fact California is experiencing major water issues. There are already restrictions on water deliveries through the Delta. Growing recognition of California’s changing conditions and mounting threats have brought competing stakeholders together to act. The time for solutions is now.