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Calif. River Tops Endangered List


Aired 4/20/09

An environmental group has listed a California river as America's most endangered river. The river is one of the main sources of water for San Diego and millions of Californians. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has the story.

The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers funnel water through the 1,000 square mile Delta, a web of channels and islands that forms the hub of California's water system.

Steve Rothert with American Rivers says the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system is on the verge of collapse, threatening the water supply for 25 million people and five million acres of farmland from Sacramento to San Diego.

"The water supply system is dependent on the Delta," Rother says. "And a good portion of the water that San Diego residents receive comes from the Delta."

He says the rivers and their tributaries are also blocked by large dams to produce the majority of California's hydropower.

Rothert says climate change, population growth, water supply demands, and endangered species listings have brought the Delta to the brink.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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