god united methodists nature and california water
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God, United Methodists, Nature, and California Water. Sacramento River. Sherman Island. San Joaquin River. f. Analogy. Tail = Rope Legs = Tree trunks Body = Wall Trunk = Snake Tusk = Spear Ears = Fan. Delta Dynamics Not Easily Understood. Personal Journey.

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god united methodists nature and california water
God, United Methodists, Nature, and California Water

Sacramento River

Sherman Island

San Joaquin River


Tail = Rope

Legs = Tree trunks

Body = Wall

Trunk = Snake

Tusk = Spear

Ears = Fan

Delta Dynamics Not Easily Understood.

personal journey
Personal Journey

Circa 1956 in the San Joaquin Delta

california hydrology
California Hydrology
  • Averages 73 million acre feet per year
  • Varies in space:
    • 76% produced in northern third of state.
  • Varies in time:
    • 80% from November through March.
    • May through September are typically rainless.
  • Fifth largest economy in the world with $1.5 trillion annual gross state product (as of last fall).
  • California produces 1/3 of the nation’s crops.
  • 80% water demand by lower 2/3 state.
reasons for urgency
Reasons for Urgency

Levee and water diversion failures imminent in the Delta

  • Inconsistent design, construction, and maintenance of levees
  • Levees not as reliable or as safe as dams.
  • Island subsidence

Proximity to major earthquake faults - 6.5 Richter

Climate Change

  • Increase range of tidal flux
  • Increase in storm surge

Water supply at capacity limits - (88%-92%)

San Joaquin flow reversals - over 300 days annually

Fish population collapses - Several species at all-time lows

Declining water quality - Ag return flow, stockyards, dairy operations

Salt importation into SJ Valley increasing - 1 million tons/year

Human population increasing - about 1 million/year (50 M 2026)

Outflow to SF Bay 1/2 of historical

typical delta hydrological budget delta atlas 1995 1980 1991
Typical Delta Hydrological BudgetDelta Atlas 1995(1980-1991)



Water supply exports



San Joaquin System



Flow to the Bay

Sacramento System





27840 TAF

central valley project usbr website
Central Valley Project(USBR website)

San Joaquin River used as water supply (Friant Dam, Madera Canal, Friant-Kern Canal)

Sacramento River used to resist seawater intrusion during incoming tides (Shasta and Folsom dams) and to freshen San Joaquin water (Delta Cross Channel).

Mitigation water to senior water rights holders (Delta Mendota Canal)

Freshwater diversion site for Pittsburg and Antioch (Contra Costa Canal)

CVP NEVER designed to use Sacramento River water as water supply.

(SWP uses Feather River and relies upon through Delta water conveyance.)





Water supply exports




Van Sickle Island

Sacramento River

Three Mile Slough

Sherman Island

San Joaquin River

Aerial photograph showing lack of mixing at the confluence

of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

the key concept water behaves differently
Sacramento River:

Higher gradient (0.026).

Higher momentum.

Higher hydraulic. Energy.

Higher inertia.

Colder in summer

Lower suspended solids concentrations

San Joaquin River:

Lower gradient (0.016).

Lower momentum.

Lower hydraulic energy.

Lower inertia.

Higher residence time

The Key Concept: water behaves differently
  • They do not immediately mix!



the key consequences
The Key Consequences
  • Sacramento River water is largely unavailable to Jones PP (CVP) or Banks PP (SWP).
  • Through Delta conveyance is infeasible.

Sacramento River

Sherman Island

San Joaquin River


ecological canaries fishes of the two deltas

Delta smelt (T)

Longfin smelt (ST)

Striped bass YOY

Threadfin shad

Chinook salmon (ET)

Steelhead (T)


No current, SJR

No current, SJR

Needs plankton

Needs plankton

Ocean? Home?

Ocean? Home?

Ecological Canaries:Fishes of the two Deltas
what you can do
What you can do

Remember Proposition 9 in 1982 (Both sides lied).

Gather information and decide (you can do this!).

Is protecting California’s economy important?

Should ecosystems be restored as we fix the water system? (Be not against nature)

Cost will be $3 billion and up. Spend it well.