The Colorado River and Sacramento Delta limits

Writing this week in the Los Angeles Times, the NRDC’s Doug Obegi makes the central point about the linkage between water problems across the west. Responding to Victor Davis Hanson’s argument in favor of giving farmers more water from the Sacramento Delta, Obegi makes the salient point that there isn’t the water to give:

The reality is that these water contracts promise more water than has ever been — or could be — delivered. Until 2000, the largest water user (the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves 19 million Californians) didn’t request all of the water it was entitled to under its contract. Now that everyone wants their full share, there’s less for others.

And why has Met increased its take of water from the Sacramento Delta? At the risk of the blog faux pas of quoting myself, because Met’s Colorado River allotment went down:

As the Central Arizona Project fully came on line, California had to bring its usage down to reflect that reality. One thing that happened is that the Metropolitan Water District’s use of Colorado River water went down, and its use of State Water Project water, pumped from the delta, went up.