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Delta Solutions

Delta Solutions

Center for Watershed Sciences

Watershed Sciences Building - 1st Floor
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 754-9133
FAX (530) 754-9364

Multimedia Collection

Publications

Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Jay Lund, Ellen Hanak, William Fleenor, William Bennett, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle. July 2008. Public Policy Institute of California. (Abstract)

Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Jay Lund, Ellen Hanak, William Fleenor, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle. February 2007. Public Policy Institute of California. (Abstract)

Op-eds

Daunting task, but Delta issues manageable
Jay Lund, Peter Moyle and Ellen Hanak. August 23, 2009. Sacramento Bee.

Fixing the Delta is critical
Ellen Hanak, Jay Lund. June 19, 2009. San Diego Union-Tribune.

Commentary: Change Needed for Better Delta Ecosystem
Peter Moyle, John Durand and William Bennett. May 8, 2009. The Sacramento Bee.

Readers' Forum: The Delta: Managing the Inevitable
Jeffrey Mount and Jay Lund. May 2, 2009. Contra Costa Times.

Bay Area's Tricky Choices About Delta's Future
Ellen Hanak, Jay Lund. April 12, 2009. San Francisco Chronicle.

Working Papers

Habitat Variability and Complexity in the Upper San Francisco Estuary (PDF, 617 KB)
Peter B. Moyle, William A. Bennett, William E. Fleenor, and Jay R. Lund. February 2010. Circulating draft. (Abstract)

Current and Long-Term Effects of Delta Water Quality on Drinking Water Treatment Costs from Disinfection Byproduct Formation (PDF, 360 KB)
Wei-Hsiang Chen, Kristine Haunschild, and Jay R. Lund. 2009. Circulating draft. (Abstract)

Levee Decisions and Sustainability for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Robyn Suddeth, Jeff Mount, Jay Lund. 2009. Circulating draft. (Abstract)

Policy Implications of Permanently Flooded Islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (PDF, 193 KB)
Robyn Suddeth. August 2009. Circulating draft. (Abstract)

Videos

Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta - Technical Appendices Workshop
November 12 and 13, 2008. CALFED Bay-Delta Program, Delta Room, Sacramento CA.

Drought Q&A With California State Legislature
Jay Lund. March 12, 2009. 3m:24s. On YouTube, University of California, Davis.

The Delta, Peripheral Canal and the Future of California
Winter Quarter 2009. University of California, Davis.

 
 

Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Jay Lund, Ellen Hanak, William Fleenor, William Bennett, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle. July 2008. Public Policy Institute of California.

Abstract

For over 50 years, California has been pumping water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for extensive urban and agricultural uses around the state. Today, the Delta is ailing and in urgent need of a new management strategy. This report concludes that building a peripheral canal to carry water around the Delta is the most promising way to balance two critical policy goals: reviving a threatened ecosystem and ensuring a reliable, high-quality water supply for California.

Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Jay Lund, Ellen Hanak, William Fleenor, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount and Peter Moyle. February 2007. Public Policy Institute of California.

Abstract

California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is widely perceived to be in crisis today: its levee system is fragile, many of its native species are declining rapidly, and it lacks strong governing institutions to deal with its problems. In its current state, the Delta is unsustainable for almost all stakeholders. This report provides a comprehensive, scientifically up-to-date analysis and outlines several alternative management strategies for the Delta.

Current and Long-Term Effects of Delta Water Quality on Drinking Water Treatment Costs from Disinfection Byproduct Formation

Wei-Hsiang Chen, Kristine Haunschild, and Jay R. Lund. 2009. Circulating draft.

Abstract

This study explores the current and long-term effects of Delta export water quality on drinking water treatment cost and residual public health risk from disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation. Appropriate treatment options and strategies were discussed based on water quality constituents of concern. The costs of selected treatment technologies were estimated and applied for current and future conditions for different export locations with projections of future water quality. Overall, drinking water treatment costs would be lower for Sacramento River water. With roughly 1.5 million acre-foot (af) per year of Delta water used for urban water supplies, the drinking water treatment cost differences of taking water from the south Delta and the Sacramento River upstream could amount to $30 to $90 million per year currently, and possibly rise to $200 to $1000 million per year in the future, with lower water quality and use of the Delta likely to rise to 2 million af annually. Currently DBPs are manageable with Delta supplies within treatment standards, while sea level rise and western island failures would make treatment of Delta water for urban use more difficult and expensive. Bromide from seawater, combined with total organic carbon is a particularly problematic precursor of DBPs. With sea level rise and western island failures, waters drawn directly from the Delta will likely become increasingly risky to public health and less desirable as a conventional water source.

Habitat Variability and Complexity in the Upper San Francisco Estuary

Peter B. Moyle, William A. Bennett, William E. Fleenor, and Jay R. Lund. February 2010. Circulating draft.

Abstract

The San Francisco Estuary is a complex estuarine ecosystem. High variability in environmental conditions in both space and time once made helped make the estuary highly productive for native biota, especially the Delta and Suisun Bay. Present conditions discourage native species, providing a rationale for restoring estuarine variability and habitat complexity, recognizing that restoration of variability and complexity is only a partial solution to all the estuary?s ecological problems. Achieving a variable, more complex estuary requires establishing seaward gradients in salinity and other water quality variables, diverse habitats throughout the estuary, more floodplain habitat along inflowing rivers, and improved water quality. These goals in turn encourage policies which: (1) establish internal Delta flows that create a tidally-mixed, upstream-downstream gradient (without cross-Delta flows) in water quality; (2) create slough networks with more natural channel geometry and less diked rip-rapped channel habitat; (3) improve flows from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers; (4) increase tidal marsh habitat, including shallow (1-2 m) subtidal areas, in both fresh and brackish zones of the estuary; (5) create/allow large expanses of low salinity (1-4 ppt) open water habitat in the Delta; (6) create a hydrodynamic regime where salinities in parts of the Delta and Suisun Bay and Marsh range from near-fresh to 8-10 ppt periodically (does not have to be annual) to discourage alien species and favor desirable species; (7) take species-specific actions that reduce abundance of non-native species and increase abundance of desirable species; (8) establish abundant annual floodplain habitat, with additional large areas that flood in less frequent wet years; (9) reduce inflow of agricultural and urban pollutants; and (10) improve the temperature regime in large areas of the estuary so temperatures rarely exceed 20C during summer and fall months. These actions collectively provide a realistic if experimental approach to achieving flow and habitat objectives to benefit desirable species. Some of these goals are likely to be achieved without deliberate action as the result of sea level rise, climate change, and levee failures, but habitat, flow restoration and export reduction projects can enhance a return to a more variable and more productive ecosystem.

Levee Decisions and Sustainability for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Robyn Suddeth, Jeff Mount, Jay Lund. 2009. Circulating draft.

Abstract

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's fragile levees are subject to several physical realities that make them increasingly prone to failure. State planners face the challenge of preparing for future Delta flooding. This study presents an economic method for approaching the evaluation of Delta island levee upgrades and repairs. A Levee Decision Analysis Model (LDAM) is applied to the question: How should the state economically prioritize levee upgrade and repair efforts in the Delta? We focus on 34 major agricultural islands that make up most of the Delta's Primary Zone and include all non-urban subsided islands. This initial analysis indicates that it is economically optimal to not upgrade all 34 Delta islands examined, mostly because levee upgrades are expensive, but produce little improvement in levee reliability. When we assume increased effectiveness of upgrades, it becomes optimal to upgrade some islands. Other islands are never optimally upgraded, even under the most optimistic scenario. Our analysis also suggests that from an economic perspective, taking into account land and asset values, it is not cost effective to repair between 18 and 23 of these islands when they fail. When property values for all islands were doubled in a sensitivity analysis, only four islands of those originally not repaired become cost effective to repair. The LDAM model presented here is a useful approach for Delta policy-makers. It provides a quantitative framework for addressing several relevant questions regarding reasonable levee upgrade and repair investments. These initial results may act as a springboard for discussion, and the LDAM model as a working framework for developing an optimal strategy. An important and inescapable conclusion of this analysis is that maintaining the current Delta landscape is unlikely to be economical from a business or land use perspective.

Policy Implications of Permanently Flooded Islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Robyn Suddeth. August 2009. Circulating draft.

Abstract

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is in a state of inevitable transition. Physical and financial pressures are likely to transform parts of the Delta into open water within the next 100 years. Because flooded islands have different habitat, water quality, and hydrodynamic implications depending on location, depth, orientation, and other physical factors, the state may decide to intentionally flood one or more Delta islands in an effort to better manage the Delta?s ecosystem and valuable water supplies. This paper outlines three sets of near term actions the state would have to take to begin transitioning towards intentional island flooding, and discusses legal and political challenges to those actions. Several key findings include the following: (1) amendments to California?s water code and revisions to the Delta Land Use and Resource Management Plan may help the state ensure the legal authority to differentiate levee policies within the Delta; (2) permits for a first, experimental flooded island will likely require the State Water Resources Control Board to revise the Delta Water Quality Control Plan to allow for more short-term flexibility and deal with conflicting ecosystem and water supply uses; and (3) the state may want to prepare mitigation plans for private landowners on neighboring islands whose levees could face new threats of erosion and/or seepage from a nearby flooded island in order to avoid inverse condemnation lawsuits. If the state decides to shift its levee policies in the Delta, serious consideration will need to be given these and additional common, regulatory, statutory, and constitutional laws.