STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Many people may take living near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for granted, but it’s not just a source of recreation.
Millions of people rely on the Delta as a water source and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, said it is in jeopardy because of the ongoing drought.
“We’re in year two of a very severe drought,” Rep. McNerney told FOX40. “I don’t know if we’ve ever seen it this dry.”
Although San Joaquin County has rain in the forecast, McNerney said the continued drought conditions along the Delta already have far-reaching impacts.
“It impacts agriculture, impacts our recreation and impacts the facilities that are located on the Delta — the docks and the bearings. And now, we want to make sure that that situation doesn’t worsen,” he said.
McNerney said reduced water flows allow more saltwater into the Delta, which impacts its ecosystem.
“Whether it’s the fish, the plant life, and the entertainment, the recreational use, every part of the Delta is going to be affected if saltwater increases,” the congressman said.
According to the Water Education Foundation, the Delta provides a portion of drinking water for 29 million Californians.
It’s also a source of irrigation water for large portions of the state’s $50 billion agriculture industry.
“If it continues, we’re going to see more restrictive conditions be put on the farmers especially but the urban users as well because this has to be a shared problem,” McNerney explained.
McNerney said he will continue to push for policies that will address drought issues happening now, as well as plan for the future.
“We can use water much more efficiently, whether it’s in agriculture, whether it’s in our homes or our gardens,” he said. “And then, there’s infrastructure that we can put in place to encourage groundwater storage when we have wet years and recycling, reuse of water.”