Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.
Even for the state's water wizards, it can be tough to get a handle on how California's natural and extremely unnatural water systems fit together. But a series of maps published by the nonprofit Water Education Foundation helps make a normally arcane world accessible to even the layperson.
The full-color "Delta" map focuses on California's water heart: the Sacramento and San Joaquin river delta, source of two-thirds of the state's drinking water, half of its irrigation water, and home to 54 species of fish and 225 kinds of birds. The map helps strip away the complexity of what the Delta has become, its wetlands now hemmed in by converted farmland, a deep-sea shipping channel and numerous canals and siphons. And it shows what the Delta might yet be: The map includes projects proposed under the CalFed program.
For a bigger picture, check out the "California Water Map" and "California Groundwater Map," and for the BIG picture, check out WEF's map of the entire Colorado River Basin.
The maps are $10 each (except for "The Delta," $7) and can be ordered from www.watereducation.org or by calling 916/444-6240.