Earlier this month, I made a sobering trip to the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay Delta as part of an inspection tour sponsored by Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego County Water Authority.
Anyone who depends upon imported water -- and that's most of us -- should understand the seriousness of the statewide drought and the environmental issues facing the Bay Delta. The drought affects us with every turn of the faucet.
As the County of San Diego's representative to the Water Authority, I felt it was important to see the Delta and State Water Project facilities with my own eyes.
What I saw was eye-opening: reservoirs well below capacity, farmland that has subsided up to 30 feet below sea level, a Byzantine network of earthen levees which, in an area criss-crossed by fault lines, is one earthquake away from failure.
The California Aqueduct siphons water from the sprawling Delta. Completed in the late 1960s, the aqueduct transports water to consumers in Central and Southern California through nearly 700 miles of canals and pipelines.
Much of the water comes from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, by way of the Sacramento River and the Delta.
Historically, we have received up to 30 percent of our water from the Bay Delta. This year, the drought has reduced our allocation from this important supply to zero.
Only Mother Nature can cure the drought.
It's up to us, however, to reverse environmental damage at the Delta and agree upon improvements to conveyance facilities from this important source. The costs are staggering, and California voters will need to decide whether to shoulder them.
Today, with a stronger understanding of these issues, I look forward to collaborating with policy-makers and water managers to craft a workable solution.