California Water Conflicts Case Study

I have made a word document of a case study on California. I have got the information off the BBC Radio 4 programme called Costing the Earth and it is 19th May 2011 episode called California Gasping. 

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  • Created on: 30-05-11 08:58
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California Case Study
California Gasping-Costing the Earth-Radio 4
"Loss of the water is loss of the land"
Water to the Native people-Root of their culture
One of the world's most fertile agricultural regions-Central Valley of California
Los Angeles is built on the edge of the desert and relies on the cannels and dams
of water
United Nations-southern part of California is an arid region of the world
(similar to Egypt)
Population will probably grow to 15 million by mid-century-growing demand
Delta Stewardship Council
o Plan to balance needs of people and needs of the environment
o Engineered system designed for theories that people thought would work
in the 30's.
o Dams designed and paid for based on assumptions in the 1930's on
weather patterns which are different now.
Too little water past few summers.
Sometimes there is just too much water leading to floods
o Sacramento (State capital)
Flood threat higher here than in St Orleans
Sit at the confluence of two rivers
Subsided land
E.g.1986-Combination of a lot of rain and melting snow
America's second biggest delta
o San Joaquin Delta
o 750,000 acres of islands cut up by countless waterways
o Supplies drinking water to 25million Californians and irrigates 450 miles
of intensive agriculture.
o Meeting point of most of California's water
Dams, pumps and canals
o Pulling out of water causes reversal of river and fish species sucked into
pumps and lost.
o Loss fish=Less fishing, less able for people to feed families
o Organism decline
o Externalities-increased urban runoff, increased contaminates levels,
invasive species plant and animals, unsustainable export levels of water.
Shasta Dam
o Built on ancestral lands of the Winneman Wintu people
Took away about 90% of their sacred sites
Took away their livelihoods, buried their villages and towns
Governmental officials moved them out by wrecking their whole
No one provided them a new lifestyle, they were left to fend for
Had to identify burial sites and move them.

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Have protested about the new plans to increase the height of the
o 150 miles north of the San Joaquin Delta
o On the Sacramento River
o Built to control floods and supply water
o 26 miles of river lost to this
o One plan is to increase the height of the dam to store more water. This
would lose more of the scared lands.…read more


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