As my good friend Dr. Randall Stocker once said, California is the only place in the world where water flows uphill towards money. Perhap that is about to stop.
The millions of people that live in Southern California rely on four canal systems to bring them the water they need to survive. Two of these come from the Colorado River, one to Los Angeles and one to the Imperial Valley. The Los Angeles Department of Water Resources canal brings water from the Owens Valley to the north, the subject of many movies including Chinatown with Jack Nickolson and the more recent California Water Project, a diversion of the Sacramento River. The California Water Project transports this precious resource over 400 miles to the LA Basin.
This past week a judge in Northern California finalized an order requiring the canal to be turned off stopping the flow to Central Valley Farms and the 17 million residents of S CA. He found that the State had not obtained the proper permits to operate the pumps that make this possible. This action stems from a lawsuit filed by an environmental group concerned about the impact of the pumps on the small Delta Smelt, a key species of fish. Water managers have appealed and are scrambling to comply. For more information see story below.