Friday, January 26, 2007

Dam Dubiousness

The dubiousness comes from the way the respective sides view nature and man’s place in it, something we addressed in our 2006 report on water on our website,

Democrats dubious on pair of dams
They see cheaper, easier plans for flood protection.
By Judy Lin - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, January 26, 2007

Senate Democrats on Thursday cast doubt on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to build a pair of dams, saying they have a cheaper and easier way to maintain the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

"We want more water supply and we want better flood protection as cheaply and as quickly as possible," Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said during a Capitol news conference to unveil his party's flood-protection plan.

He added: "We don't believe new dams at this point are needed. They cost billions of dollars and they take years, in fact decades, to build."

The Schwarzenegger administration has proposed building two dams, most likely in Temperance Flat just above Friant Dam near Fresno, on the San Joaquin River, and on Sites reservoir in Colusa and Glenn counties. The waterways are part of the Delta, which provides water to 23 million Californians and quenches the Central Valley's thirsty farmlands.

In proposing four water-protection bills, Democrats say they favor a mix of conservation, groundwater storage and better floodplain management to provide twice the amount of water that the dams could provide. Senators estimated the state can secure over 1 million additional acre-feet of water from new groundwater storage for about $1.5 billion -- one-fourth the projected cost of two new dams.

The Republican governor's $4.5 billion water-storage plan is estimated to add 500,000 acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is 326,000 gallons, roughly a year's supply for two households.