Two new studies point to Sacramento's wastewater as the culprit behind declining fish populations in the Delta.
The studies — one partly funded by water users — will likely intensify pressure on the region to upgrade its sewage treatment, which could cost ratepayers $1 billion.
Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District already is engaged in a pitched battle with dozens of urban and rural water agencies that depend on water from the Delta. The question: Is sewage or water diversions to blame for the decline of fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?
Each side has hired teams of experts to argue its case. The war of words is on display on Interstate 5 in the San Joaquin Valley, where farmers who depend on Delta water ask, on large yellow signs, why Sacramentans are allowed to "dump their sewage into the Delta."
The new studies appear to support their claim that wastewater from the capital region's 1.4 million residents contributes to the problem.
On Monday, Patricia Glibert of the University of Maryland said the Delta's environmental problems are more likely tied to wastewater pollution than to water diversions.
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