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Water Down the Drain

Total delta outflow (water lost to the ocean) was 468,296 acre-feet, enough water to almost fill a bone-dry Millerton Lake.

Jan 13, 2016

We just received this note from Lance Johnson, the former manager of the Madera Irrigation District.  He tells us about all the water going through the Delta and out to sea.

To Families Protecting the Valley,


Last month knowing what was coming I put together a daily time step Excell spreadsheet and have been compiling the numbers of delta pumping and delta outflow and other key data since 12/20. And this daily total is sky rocketing - yesterday was over 55,000 AF, just for that one day. Somewhere down the road in the next 2-3 months don't be surprised if outflow doesn't hit over 150,000 AF per day or higher - I've seen over 250,000 in prior years.


In addition he sent us the following information that he also copied to the Fresno Bee.
        In back to back editorials: 1) “Can subsidence be fixed without sinking economy?”, January 8th and 2) “We need more urgency on our sinking Valley” January 9th the Bee Editorial Board notes our valley is subsiding due to high levels of groundwater pumping resulting from huge shortages and uncertainties in surface water supplies brought on by the drought and increased environmental restrictions on water projects.

            In that context the Bee and its readers should note that high river flows from Godzilla El Nino driven storms first reached the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta about December 20th. And from then until just January 9th total delta outflow (water lost to the ocean) was 468,296 acre-feet, enough water to almost fill a bone-dry Millerton Lake.  That while State and Federal delta pumping averaged less then one-half of capacity and were virtually idling most days. Why? Environmental restrictions on their operation.

            Lest there be any doubt, readers can see that data on-line for themselves at:

1)   http://www.water.ca.gov/swp/operationscontrol/projectwide.cfm and at

2)   http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvo/

Finally, if past is prologue we can expect to see water losses to the ocean (delta outflow) of well over 10 million acre-feet before this Godzilla El Nino rainy season is over.

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