The Fate of the Delta:
Impacts of Proposed Water Projects and Plans
on Delta Environmental Justice Communities

Restore the Delta

Authors: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Nora Kovaleski,
Mariah Looney, and Tim Stroshane

Everyone who lives in the Delta understands that all boats rise together at high tide. Restore the Delta states the environmental concerns and needs of those who will be harmed first by the Delta tunnels project (including what we refer to in this report as Delta environmental justice communities), and advocates for water quality and quantity policies that will serve the entire Delta community.Delta environmental justice (EJ) communities have a rich historical legacy of reclaiming Delta islands, farming, and aiding landowners through generations of labor to build the wealth of this region. They have their own stories to tell and their own needs to represent regarding Delta water quality, and public access to urban Delta waterways. While half our staff lives and works within the environmental justice community in San Joaquin County, we ourselves are not, by definition, members of Delta EJ communities. But as we represent the Delta in water policy forums, RTD would be remiss were we to ignore the enormous contributions of the Delta’s EJ communities to Delta and California life and history.

Our goal in producing this report is to create a solid base of Delta EJ research and related tools to empower local social and environmental justice groups to advocate for themselves in our state’s water management processes, as well as help document concerns of Northern California Indian Tribes about Delta water mismanagement. We look forward to various Delta community groups using their own stories to address their own groups’ concerns in a manner that connects Delta history, water management science, environmentalism, and economics in the years to come.

Read the executive summary

Read the full report