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The Contra Costa Times reports today that the state Department of Water Resources has taken the first steps forward on a plan to study the environmental impacts of building a canal around the periphery of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

A peripheral canal would move water around the delta instead of through it, theoretically helping to reduce the impacts on numerous fish species of the pumps that suck water out of the area and send it to Southern California.

Reporter Mike Taugher writes:

Plans to build a peripheral canal to divert water around the delta took a key step forward Monday when the Department of Water Resources launched a 30-month study on how to stabilize unreliable water supplies.

The environmental analysis will examine the effects of building a canal, along with other methods of getting water from the Sacramento River to the East Bay, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. …

A canal would reduce the freshwater flow into the Delta and could increase pollution. But state officials contend it might be the best way to protect fish because it would reduce the number of fish killed at the Delta pumps near Tracy.

ROB DAVIS

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