Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Auburn Dam Report

The report is available at this address

The increased cost is dwarfed by the costs of repairing the damage that could be done by a flood, as New Orleans keeps reminding us, and given the annual cost benefits it is clear that the new dam would pay for itself over time. Just using the report figures (on pages ES3 & ES4) it is clear that the dam would produce about $2.5 billion in benefits over every 10 year span, including hydropower, irrigation, municipal and industrial use, recreation, and flood control benefits.

The flood protection level is described on page TS6 of the report and with the Folsom Modifications comes in at 1 in 500 (500 year level protection).

The other thing to keep in mind is that the redesign, which will have to be done as this report was based on the existing 1978 design would probably meet or possibly even exceed the 500 year level as that is the standard other major river cities like Tacoma, Kansas City, St. Louis, & Dallas, have attained.

Auburn dam price tag soars
Study puts cost at twice earlier estimates, says it wouldn't protect capital in giant flood.
By Matt Weiser - Bee Staff Writer
Published 6:44 am PST Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A new study puts the cost of constructing an Auburn dam somewhere between $6 billion and $10 billion -- at least twice the cost of earlier estimates.

The report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, yielded other sobering revisions to previous assessments of building a concrete dam on the American River near Auburn: As originally designed, the dam would provide far less drinking and irrigation water than once believed and would cause more harm to adjacent recreation areas. The study also found the dam would not protect Sacramento from a worst-case flood.

The report was ordered in 2005 by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, who has led a decades-long campaign to build the Auburn dam.

Doolittle was undeterred by the new numbers Tuesday, arguing the dam is critical to flood control in the Sacramento region and that the costs could be recouped through water and power sales.

"Cost is only relevant when compared to something else," he said. "This dam will pay for itself through sale of hydropower and flood control benefits. This report doesn't detract from the compelling need for this dam."