Thursday, March 23, 2006

Public Discussion About Dams, Letters to Editor

The public discussion about dams continues in today’s Letters to the Bee, and I’ve inserted content corrections highlighted and in brackets.

Here are exceprts.

Letters to Editor
Thursday, March 23, 2006

Letter #1) What killed funding for new dams in the Legislature's infrastructure bond debate was the hard fact that new dams produce less water and cost far more than water conservation or other water management choices (visit for the numbers).

Nearly 6 million acre-feet of new surface and groundwater storage has been developed in the last 15 years. In addition, total water use in California is actually declining and could decline faster, even as the population and economy grows, if we invest in common-sense water management programs.

Instead of destructive, costly and unproductive dams, the state needs to invest in conservation, reclamation and groundwater storage - all programs that truly meet our water needs and conserve and restore the environment. [Except provide flood protection]

Letter #2) debates over new dams in California often take on a religious fervor, but The Bee mischaracterized the "soft path" to water, an approach defined and described in detailed work from the Pacific Institute.

The soft path does not preclude new dams or infrastructure. Indeed, in California, new infrastructure may someday be needed. But not today. All of the benefits [Except for flood protection] that new dams could offer can be provided faster, cheaper and cleaner by reducing the wasteful use of water, expanding supplies by smarter use of reclaimed water and groundwater, and reducing inappropriate subsidies that encourage water waste.