Crews in Contra Costa County have been working around the clock for the past 20 days building a massive rock wall in the Delta all in the name of the drought.
“We’re taking extreme measures under extreme circumstance,” said Jacob McQuirk from the Department of Water Resources.
With too little natural flow coming in this year from the Sierra Snowpack, and the water in short supply in upstream reservoirs, saltwater from the ocean is at risk of pushing in -- contaminating the freshwater Delta.
“If there’s not enough fresh water the tide wins and salt migrates upstream,” said McQuirk.
The Department of Water Resources says pumping stations near Tracy that send water south are at risk of contamination. A total of 27 million Californians, including folks in Contra Costa County rely on water from the Delta for at least a portion of their water supply.
“There’s a lot of communities, fish and wildlife and agriculture that’s all dependent on freshwater in the Delta,” said McQuirk.
But not everyone’s on board with the project. The barrier blocks a popular route with boaters and some worry it could lead to huge algae blooms and impact fish and wildlife.
Boater Kevin Hinman thinks it’s a waste of money.
“It’s stupid, it changes the environment, it changes the salidity in the water, it changes how the water fluctuates,” he said.
But water experts say they have mitigation plans in place and say a similar barrier in 2015 worked.
“We don’t want to build this barrier,” said McQuirk. “The barrier we’re building is out of necessity.”
Tuesday was the final day of work constructing the barrier that’s taken about 9,000 dump trucks of rocks to build it. They’ll all be removed by November 30 before the rainy season starts.
The state’s taking drastic steps to protect California's water supply. We’ll tell you how this $10 million emergency rock barrier in Contra Costa County could help.