In Assemblymember Beth Gaines’ “My turn” (Nov. 20), she explains the importance of Folsom Lake and acknowledges that all Californians must work together to solve our water supply crisis. However, she incorrectly identifies the threat to Folsom Lake. Instead of blaming the real culprit — climate change — she blames the best available solution to the ongoing water system/ecosystem crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The state has done extensive modeling of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s proposed operations, including an analysis of the performance of upstream reservoirs such as Folsom Lake. State laws and policies require that BDCP’s environmental analysis also include potential impacts of future climate change. The results show that BDCP actions do not have any material effect on future water levels at Folsom Lake. However, the analysis does show that potential changes in climate will significantly decrease the amount of water in the lake.
The state has worked for seven years to develop a solution that will protect the water supply for 25 million Californians and restore the failing Delta ecosystem. The BDCP proposes a set of twin tunnels that would move fresh water underneath, instead of through, the Delta, protecting it in the event of sea level rise or a major earthquake. Currently this water is protected by 100-year-old dirt levees that are vulnerable to collapse in the event of such an earthquake.
We agree on the importance of water to the economy. However, if we take no steps to protect our water supply, we will face the possibility of a catastrophe that would result in $40 billion in economic losses and water shortages for two-thirds of California. And if the Sacramento Region fails to address the effects of climate change on Folsom Lake, effects that will occur with or without BDCP, the region will face the same dire consequences.
All Californians must work together to ensure a safe and secure water supply for our state; we all depend on it.
General Manager, State Water Contractors