‘Death Trap’ For Fish In California’s Water System Is Limiting Pumping

"BYRON, Calif. — Giant pumps hum inside a warehouse-like building, pushing water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta into the California Aqueduct, where it travels more than 400 miles south to the taps of over half the state’s population.

But lately the powerful motors at the Harvey O. Banks Pumping Plant have been running at reduced capacity, despite a second year of drought-busting snow and rain.

The reason: So many threatened fish have died at the plant’s intake reservoir and pumps that it has triggered federal protections and forced the state to pump less water.

The spike in fish deaths has angered environmentalists and fishing advocates, who argue the state draws too much water from the delta while failing to safeguard fish. Conversely, the reduced pumping has vexed Central Valley growers and water districts, who have complained that they need more water from the estuary and that deliveries are being unduly limited by regulatory constraints and outdated infrastructure."

Ian James reports for the Los Angeles Times May 2, 2024.

Source: LA Times, 05/03/2024