SACRAMENTO — Even living here on the West Coast, Marion Townsend decided to act as floods ravaged Texas and hurricanes pounded the Caribbean in recent weeks.
Sacramento – California needs to spend another $100 million a year to keep the state’s levee system sound, according to state flood control experts.
The pressure on California’s water supply during the recent drought was further complicated by outdated policy and antiquated infrastructure. There are multiple projects and policies in the process of getting funded or being approved that will address some of the water needs of the state. Executive Director for the California Water Alliance Aubrey Bettencourt explained that “we have this undersized, outdated water infrastructure system that hasn’t quite been updated since the ‘60s and ‘70s and it’s not able to keep up with our modern priorities, our modern requirements of it.”
Voters will decide in June 2018 whether to borrow $4 billion to fund improvements to the California’s parks and water systems after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 5 on Sunday.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s board voted to pay for about a quarter of the tunnels project, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17.1 billion effort to re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and improve water deliveries to south state cities and farms. The vote was 69 percent to 22 percent under Metropolitan’s voting system, which gives more weight to the largest cities, with the rest abstaining.
A century of levee building confined the state’s major rivers to narrow channels. A new policy aims to free them again, which could not only reduce flood risk but also recharge groundwater and improve wildlife habitat.
When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the gulf coast of Texas in late August, it led to widespread flooding in Houston and other cities and towns. In some places more than 15 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, quickly inundating roads, highways and entire neighborhoods. Damage from the storm is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
Work is well under way on a project that will provide West Side farmers with highly treated water from sewage treatment plants in Modesto and Turlock.
The project is funded by the Del Puerto Water District, which supplies farmland along Interstate 5 between Vernalis and Santa Nella. It was prompted by cutbacks in the district’s supply from the federal Delta-Mendota Canal because of drought and fish protections.
The U.S. economy was nicked by two summer hurricanes in September but is showing signs of underlying strength.
The country shed 33,000 jobs in September, the first loss in seven years, the Labor Department said Friday, ending the longest stretch of job growth on record.