Crews build rock face in Delta to help water supply in Contra Costa County – NBC Bay Area
Teams in Contra Costa County have worked tirelessly over the past 20 days to build a massive rock face in the delta, all in the name of drought.
“We take extreme measures in extreme circumstances,” said Jacob McQuirk of the Department of Water Resources.
With too little natural flow from the Sierra’s snowpack this year and insufficient water supply in upstream reservoirs, salt water from the ocean is at risk of seeping in – contaminating the freshwater delta.
“If there isn’t enough fresh water, the tide wins and the salt migrates upstream,” McQuirk said.
The Water Resources Department says pumping stations near Tracy that send water south may be contaminated. In total, 27 million Californians, including residents of Contra Costa County, depend on the delta’s water for at least part of their water supply.
“There are a lot of communities, fish, wildlife and agriculture that all depend on freshwater in the Delta,” McQuirk said.
But not everyone agrees with the project. The barrier blocks a route popular with boaters and some fear this could lead to huge algae blooms and impact fish and wildlife.
Boater Kevin Hinman thinks it’s a waste of money.
“It’s stupid, it changes the environment, it changes the salinity of the water, it changes the way the water fluctuates,” he said.
But water experts say they have mitigation plans in place and say a similar barrier in 2015 worked.
“We don’t want to build this barrier,” McQuirk said. “The barrier we are building is out of necessity.”
Tuesday was the last day of construction on the barrier which required around 9,000 rock dump trucks to build it. They will all be removed by November 30 before the start of the rainy season.
The state is taking drastic action to protect California’s water supply. We’ll show you how this $ 10 million emergency rock barrier in Contra Costa County could help you.