Thursday, September 10, 2015

CA water future: politics and funding, dams and storage

San Francisco Chronicle/Carolyn Lochhead, 8/31/15. "A future of dams, floodgates open for adding barriers to combat drought." Photos and video by Leah Millis, design by Maegan Clawges."

Image result for Four dams considered in California Proposition 1 picture"FRIANT DAM, Fresno County — Driven by drought, California stands ready to build a water system for the 21st century. Ideas are flowing: conservation, recycling, desalination, aquifer recharge, floodplain restoration, storm water capture.

....  Recognizing the damage done, a rising chorus of water managers and politicians from both parties is making a new argument for new dams: They will help repair the environmental devastation caused by the old dams. If the state had more water stored during droughts, they say, more water could be sent downstream to fish and wildlife refuges.

....  Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, introduced a $1.3 billion drought bill in July, half of it for dams. House Republicans, led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, passed a bill that would speed dam approvals. The California Department of Water Resources heralds a “new era of surface water storage,” arguing that new dams “would help the state cope with drought and climate change and benefit both people and the environment.

Image result for California proposed dam and storage locations picture
CA needs the water. The cost is only
money and a few dead fish, which
some people would eat anyway.
....  Temperance Flat, the $3.1 billion dam-behind-a dam, is one of four long-mothballed reservoir proposals that would together cost more than $9 billion and enlarge the state’s storage capacity by 9 percent. They’ve gotten new life with voter approval last fall of the bond measure Proposition 1, whose biggest chunk of cash, $2.7 billion, goes toward storing more water. The bond could pay up to half the cost of any new project. The measure would also pay for another method of storage — putting water not above the ground, as in a reservoir, but in the ground. It’s an idea that is gaining traction around the state. The fight for Prop. 1 funding is likely to play out between advocates of these two very different schemes."

Related article, San Francisco Chronicle/CA Drought, Carolyn Lochhead, 8/28/15. "Four (4) huge dam projects that could become California realities." "Four large dam projects are under consideration in California, selected by state and federal officials in 2000 out of 50 potential sites. Proposition 1, a water bond approved by voters last fall, allocates 40 percent of its funds, $2.7 billion, to storage. It could pay up to half the cost of new projects."

Sites considered: 1) Shasta Dam (near Redding), "raise the height of the existing dam by 18.5 feet"; 2) Sites Reservoir (west of Colusa, between Redding and Sacramento), "likely funded because of of its high water yield and because it would not dam a river"); 3) Temperance Flat (above Fresno), Build a larger dam behind Friant Dam to triple (3x) the existing reservoir capacity"; 4) Los Vaqueros (Eastern Contra Costa County), "expand existing reservoir". 

Reference.  General election ballot measure, 11/4/14.  Ballotpedia, "CA Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, Proposition 1," results yes 67.13%, no 32.87%, approved.   CA General Election, 11/2014, Official Voter Guide. "Authorizes $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. Fiscal Impact: Increased state bond costs averaging $360 million annually over 40 years. Local government savings for water-related projects, likely averaging a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades." Association of CA Water Agencies, ... "Guidelines key to process", ... The exact amount of Proposition 1 dollars available for a funding category in a fiscal year will be decided in the state budget process. Bond accountability website, ... Proposition 1 is the product of more than five years of discussions and negotiations among state lawmakers, stakeholders and others to craft a responsible bond measure to provide targeted funding for new surface and groundwater storage projects, regional water reliability, sustainable groundwater management and cleanup, water recycling, water conservation and safe drinking water, particularly for disadvantaged communities."  CA Dams and reservoirs.  Map, KQED News/Science, "California has hundreds of dams." List, Wikipedia.

Related, Mavens Notebook (Chris Maven Austin Blog reference and articles):  Water systems, 7/5/15.  CA Proposition 1 funding measure (11/4/14), News worth noting, 10/3/14,  North State Water Alliance supports the water bond, Center for Biological Diversity does not..."

Note photographs. Folsom Dam by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, 8/19/14 from Huffington Post, 12/3/14.  Low water, Lake Success/central CA, near East Porterville image by David McNew/Getty images from  CNN news, 4/2/15.  (Note about East Porterville, CA. KVPR/Ezra David Romero, 9/23/14, "In East Porterville 'they were drinking water that looked yellow and red.'" "Around 1,000 of the town’s 7,300 people have no water flowing from their taps. This unincorporated part of Tulare County is surrounded on three sides by the City of Porterville with a population of over 50,000. The people who live in Porterville have many things East Porterville doesn’t including running water sidewalks, and a city government.")
Posted by Kathy Meeh

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