Two of the barriers would be aimed at reducing freshwater outflows from the Sacramento River, allowing it to better hold back sediment that would creep in from San Francisco Bay as river flows dwindle because of the drought.
The goal of the other barrier would be to keep salinity from seeping into the central Delta.
The Sacramento Bee reports () that the California Department of Water Resources is scrambling to obtain permits for the project, which could cost as much as $40 million. The goal is to place the barriers as soon as May 1.
But the plan is drawing criticism from farmers who draw irrigation water from the channels that would be dammed.
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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