Delta Challenges

Challenges Facing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: Complex, Chaotic, or Simply Cantankerous?

Sam Luoma, Cliff Dahm, Michael Healey, Johnnie Moore

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Key points:

  • The report details challenges facing the Bay-Delta system within the context of the physical, water supply, water quality, ecological and institutional complexity of the Delta – and how this complexity makes it impossible to address challenges individually.
  • The Delta’s problems are “wicked,” meaning they have “no single correct characterization and no single correct solution, only better or worse approaches to management of the situation.”
  • California’s water supply is over-allocated, its water management infrastructure is decaying and overtaxed, and native ecosystems and species are declining.
  • Current management of the Delta is unsustainable and the current drought highlights the limitations of traditional approaches that consider solutions in isolation.