The Sacramento River Delta

This is a good look at the Sacramento River Delta, courtesy Flickr. This shows how disturbed the Delta ecosystem has become, primarily by agricultural activities over the last century. Farmers found rich, fertile soil, and a constant, reliable source of fresh water for irrigation, and developed a wildly productive agriculture industry in the area. Periodic flooding prompted the construction of earthen levees — even less reliable than those in New Orleans — to protect the farms. Other cities and businesses followed the farms into the Delta region.
The fertile soil is also constantly in decay. Again as in New Orleans, much of the land is below river level, and would be completely flooded by a levee breach. One big wild card that makes the Delta an even more vulnerable candidate for flooding than New Orleans: earthquakes! Not that we would ever see an earthquake in California!
What do you suppose a major earthquake would do to this vital water supply? This is yet another powerful argument in support of the Peripheral Canal.

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