Reactions mixed to drought barrier in Sacramento Delta

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- In the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the California Department of Water Resources has begun a massive construction project to retain fresh water, known by some as a drought barrier.

Construction of a temporary drought barrier on the West False River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is underway. The barrier will help get fresh water to hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents, but not everyone is pleased.

When finished, the rock barrier will close off 750 feet of channel and block tidal salt water from flowing into the Delta from which Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County and the city of Tracy serve customers.

Karen Cunningham has a ranch and draws water from what will be the salty side of the barrier.

"This is a sad day. A sad day to see this going on," Cunningham said. "Are my cows going to be watered with salt water? Will my sub-irrigation become salty? Cunningham said.

By the time the Department of Water Resources removes the barrier out next fall, it will have spent $40 million. The construction is part is a six week, 24/7 job.

Scott Mack owns and runs Bethel Harbor Marina with his wife Jamie Bolt. Their business relies on customers coming in off the water. They said the barrier threatens both their economics and ecosystem.

"I don't feel confident because of the funding and the cost of it," Mack said.

"If we are choked off, boats can't get to us," Jamie Volt said.

Not everyone wins when the state does something for the sake of a greater good.

To learn how much your city is required to cut back, click here. For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. And click here for tips on how to conserve water. To learn more about how to report water wasters #WhereYouLive, click here.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.