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Delta Watch
Just how much worse can the drought get? According to the US Drought Monitor Index, 58 percent of California was in an “exceptional” drought, as of July 29, compared to just 36 percent the previous week (as shown by the growing dark red section of the graphic below.) Although the word “exceptional” usually carries a positive connotation, in this case, it is the worst drought classification available. The rest of the state continues to suffer from “severe” and “extreme” drought conditions, according to the Index’s rating system – meaning the entire state in a serious drought.
The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability filed a federal lawsuit alleging that water diversions by San Francisco are in conflict with the Endangered Species Act. San Francisco receives its water supply from diversions of the Tuolumne River, which create Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Yosemite Valley. That water is then diverted around the San Joaquin River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – where it would naturally flow – and delivered directly to the Bay Area via a 160-mile pipeline.

In 1960, 1.3 million people lived within the five county Delta region. Today, that same area is inhabited by almost three times as many residents. As the population has grown, so have the impacts to the Delta ecosystem.