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Delta Smelt Deaths Mean Reduced Water Supply for Central and Southern California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The number of Delta Smelt killed this year by the pumps in the southern Delta is nearing the annual limit set by the Endangered Species Act.

So far the Department of Water Resources has had to withhold 700-thousand acre feet of water, enough to supply more than a million households and irrigate 200-thousand acres of farmland.

Chuck Bonham is with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He says the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which includes construction of twin tunnels to carry water south, could help solve the problem.

BONHAM: "Two out of three fish that get trapped down there, die. The screening system on those pumps are about 44 years old. We know that this is a problem that will continue to come up in the future. Let's break that cycle."

Bonham says a reduction of water available for storage will likely have a direct economic impact on farmers.

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