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ICYMI 10/22/23: A Very Wet Year, Weasel-ish Westlands, Quakes and Levees

The Past 12 Months in California Were Among the Wettest Ever – NYTimes 10/16/23
So what’s in store for the new water year?
State water experts say it’s too early to know for certain whether we’ll have another wet one, or return to drought conditions.
But we do know that the climate phenomenon El Niño arrived over the summer and is expected to continue through the winter, which often means more rain and snow for California. And more likely than not, this year’s El Niño will be a strong one, according to the National Weather Service.
That has state officials preparing flood infrastructure and watching for risks. Last year, levee breaches wreaked serious damage on communities in California.
“There is a lot of flood risk throughout the state,” Gary Lippner, the deputy director for flood management and dam safety with the California Department of Water Resources, said during the conference. He noted that California’s coast in particular did not have extensive flood control systems. “That keeps me awake a little bit at night going into an El Niño year,” he said.

Westlands Water District asks CA Supreme Court to overturn environmental restoration obligations – Dan Bacher 10/17/23
“Let us be clear,” said Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Joe Davis, “Westlands Water District would not exist without the Trinity River’s water. They have no surface water.” 
Reclamation ships Trinity River water from Lewiston Reservoir in the Trinity River basin to the San Joaquin Valley four hundred miles away. At 600,000 acres, Westlands is the size of Rhode Island. “Its industrial farms reap billions of dollars from federal taxpayer subsidies,” according to the Tribe.
“In the process, Westlands water diversions  have destroyed Hoopa’s fishery and devastated our people,” said Hoopa Fisheries Director, Michael Orcutt.

Major earthquake in the Delta could be disastrous for California’s water supply – CBS Sacramento 10/18/23
ISLETON — While the earthquake that struck near Isleton Wednesday morning wasn’t strong, the location did raise questions about the possible risk to an area that is critical to the state’s water supply. 
The Delta region in Sacramento County relies on more than 1,000 miles of aging levees to protect local farms and communities that could be vulnerable in a more powerful quake.

RTD Comments…
Engineers from Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck, Inc. report no levee damage or breaks in the Delta. 
But if levee failures would’ve led to a flood, Delta residents would have experienced 100% of the loss of life, and 90% of the economic loss. When the big flood comes, and it will, the 4 million people of the Delta region will be impacted before water supply. It is unfortunate that government documents and spokespeople continue prioritizing water supply over the safety of Delta residents.
The first question reporters should be asking is if there is any damage to levees or to engineered structures in the Delta? Be fact-based, is there a problem with the levees? Is there flooding? Did the levees roll like they did in Japan a decade ago rather than slumping or breaking?