The risk of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta island flooding is likely to increase substantially over the next century according to a state report just released. The Department of Water Resources’ Delta Risk Management Strategy (DRMS) Phase 1 report assesses major risks to Delta levees from floods, seepage, subsidence and earthquakes.

Delta levees protect important urban, environmental, agricultural and recreational resources as well as the Delta’s critical water supply function. The Delta provides water to as many as 25 million Californians and about 3 million acres of agricultural land.

DRMS Phase 1 report findings will be used to develop a set of strategies to manage levee failure risks in the Delta and to improve the management of state funding that supports levee maintenance and improvement. The full Phase 1 report is available at http://www.water.ca.gov/floodmgmt/dsmo/sab/drmsp/.

The Delta is one of California’s most important, yet one of the state’s most vulnerable resources. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to underscore the need to upgrade our water infrastructure by increasing water storage, improving conveyance, protecting the Delta’s ecosystem and promoting greater water conservation. His Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force and Delta Vision Committee developed recommendations for managing the Delta to fulfill co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration.

Phase 2 of the DRMS project will evaluate long-term risk-reduction options for Delta and Suisun Marsh levees. Phase 2 will present a set of actions that can be taken to reduce the risks and consequences of levee failures and is expected to be available for public review in fall 2009.