0 ASSESSMENT OF BOREHOLE WATER QUALITY AND

Hydroponic farmers often buy pre-mixed soluble fertilizers, These fertilizers do not take into account the total dissolved solids (TDS) in there mixing water. This leads to incorrect fertilization programs, and peak plant growth is not achieved.

2. Will the project harm drinking water in Contra Costa County?

Rock Creek drains irrigated pasture and cropland and rangeland. Irrigation water diverted from the Snake River is delivered to farms through a network of canals and laterals (drains or ditches). Irrigation return flows eventually empty into Rock Creek, which discharges into the Snake River.


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Haapala, U. 2002. Urbanization and water: The Stages of Development in Latin America, South-East Asia and West Africa, Master’s Thesis. 106 p. []


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Porkka, M. 2011. The Role of Virtual Water Trade in Physical Water Scarcity: Case Central Asia, Master’s Thesis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Aalto University School of Engineering, Espoo, Finland. 31 + app 5 p. []

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Other factors that have a detrimental impact on the water quality of Rock Creek by increased delivery of sediment and sediment-related nutrients include: chaining the canal system to mechanically remove vegetation, increased sediment loadings from Harrington Fork (in the headwaters of the watershed) due to a fire in 1987, construction and operation of a new hydroelectric generating plant in 1989, and a 40% increase in row-cropped bean production in 1989.

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Rahaman, M.M. 2003. Water Development Principles and Realities: Finding ways to bring the two ends closer, Thesis for Master of Science in Technology, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. 57 p. []

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Non-cropland activities in the project area also affect the pollutant loading to Rock Creek and Snake River. Expanded fish hatchery production has increased the phosphorus, nitrogen, and organic matter loadings to Rock Creek from this industry and decreased water flow in Rock Creek by diversion. The Lower Rock Creek is thought to be affected by the hatcheries. Illegal gravel mining and illegal stream alterations have degraded the channel and riparian zone in some locations.

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Mercury from the gold rush period and from modern day pollution is a problem throughout the Bay-Delta watershed. In certain wetland environments, mercury combines with hydrogen to form methyl mercury, a particularly harmful form of mercury. Methyl mercury can cause nervous system problems, especially in fetuses and children. People become exposed to methyl mercury when they eat fish containing high levels of it. Fortunately, fish in the Dutch Slough area have the lowest levels of methyl mercury in the Bay-Delta region, and several recent studies funded by the state of California indicate that tidal wetlands can reduce levels of methyl mercury in the environment. Mercury in the project area is currently being monitored, and DWR will continue to monitor methyl mercury levels after the project is completed. Meanwhile, DWR, along with other state and federal government are working to reduce methyl mercury in the Delta and limit human exposure to toxic levels of mercury.