Commentary: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is damaged by dumped sewage

The National Academy of Sciences has begun five days of hearings at UC Davis on federal water pumping restrictions aimed at protecting fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

We urge the panel to also look at the impact of dumping treated sewage into the Delta. Sacramento and other cities dump millions of gallons of treated sewage into the Delta on a daily basis. That practice is hurting the fish population.

Some critics suggest that the real purpose of the hearings is to help Sen. Dianne Feinstein shore up her support among farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. But these same critics don't seem to be bothered by Northern California cities using the Delta as a toilet.

This is the kind of hypocrisy that has turned the state water system into a political pawn.

At issue at the hearings, which began Sunday, are federal wildlife regulations that protect steelhead, sturgeon, Delta smelt and two runs of salmon. At certain times of the year, the regulations set limits on reservoir operations and water diversions so fish aren't sucked into the Delta's water pumps.

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