Additionally, the instability of levees and potential of one levee failure to affect others are liable to be major issues for achieving any measure of water supply reliability or ecosystem rehabilitation. Continuing the status quo of improving levees will not always be the most environmentally sustainable or economically defensible response in the years ahead, the committee noted.
The lack of integrated, comprehensive planning has made science less useful in decision making for the delta, the committee said. It recommended that California review water planning and management in anticipation of future circumstances. This review should devote attention to water scarcity, balanced consideration of all statewide water uses and the practices that govern them, and available engineering alternatives. In the absence of a review, it would be difficult to resolve delta water management problems in other than a piecemeal fashion.
"Science is necessary to inform actions and proposals, but it does not provide the entire overview and integration that the committee recommends," said committee member Henry J. Vaux Jr., professor emeritus of resource economics at the University of California. "Societal and political considerations are also integral factors in determining the most appropriate policies toward managing the water resources in the delta and balancing the needs of all w
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National Academy of Sciences