The river that runs through America's 10th-largest city has dried up, shriveling a source of civic pride that had welcomed back trout, salmon, beavers and other wildlife after years of restoration efforts. Over the past two months, large sections of the Guadalupe have become miles of cracked, arid gray riverbed. Fish and other wildlife are either missing or dead, casualties of California's relentless drought. — mercurynews.com
The Guadalupe River had undergone a massive revitalization effort in 2005, when the Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Clara Valley Water District spent $350 million on a huge park and garden by the river, as part of a larger flood control project. Despite this very recent improvement in the riparian corridor, the drought has proved too much to keep it flowing – the district's reservoir levels are so low that water managers simply can't afford to release water from the tributaries into the river as frequently, now leading to the dry beds.
Waterways throughout the state are stressed by the drought, and any infrastructural adjustments to rivers will require a future-focused attention to drought conditions. Last week, news broke that Frank Gehry would be leading a master plan of the entire 52-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River, as well as a revitalization effort, but specific plans as related to the drought are not yet available.
With water in such limited supply, letting the Guadalupe run dry is a difficult decision but a necessary sacrifice, to keep water running for human consumption and use. In the future, that choice might not exist.
Have an idea for how to address the drought with design? Submit your ideas to the Dry Futures competition!