The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is a vast and vitally important
ecosystem and water source located east of the San Francisco Bay and just south of
Sacramento. As an estuary (an inland body of water where fresh river water mixes
with salty sea water), the Delta and its islands create a habitat for hundreds of
aquatic and terrestrial species, some of which are unique to the region. The
Delta is a place with historic towns, working farms, and waterways used for
boating, bird watching, and other recreational activities. The Delta region
also supports critical infrastructure of statewide importance, including
energy transmission lines; transportation routes for ships, trains
and trucks; and water delivery structures. The Delta is home to
500,000 Californians and has a thriving agricultural economy;
it is also a critical link in California’s water supply system.
Freshwater originating in the Sierra Nevada flows through
the Delta, providing water supplies for 25 million Californians
and the economies in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central
Valley, and Southern California. Delta water irrigates farms
where much of the nation’s domestic fresh produce is grown.
The heart of California’s water system, the Delta, is crucial to the health of the
state’s natural environment, its residents, and the economy.