(KERO) — The Delta Region and its web of waterways and marshes are central to California's economy, ecosystem, and drinking water supply.
As California settles into what will likely be the third dry year in a row. Routine water releases from upstream reservoirs are even more important to maintain the safety of the water supply.
"During these drought conditions it is critical to send water into the Delta in order to push the ocean saltwater back and the main purpose of that is to maintain freshwater near the intakes to the aqueducts that send water to Southern California," said Laurel Larsen of the Delta Stewardship Council. "If that area were to become salty, it would take at least 2 years to regenerate those freshwater conditions."
Emergency drought barriers have also been used to hold seawater back from the freshwater aqueducts. California's Department of Water Resources built one last summer on the West False River.
In January, a notch was added to allow boats and fish to pass through. That will be backfilled next month. Complete removal is currently scheduled for November.