Thursday, July 24, 2008

Water & Water

What this story fails to mention is that there are solutions that can dramatically increase our water supply, which were once approved by government, but because of environmental opposition were not completed.

One is Auburn Dam, which would add 2.3 million acre feet of water supply, which would probably cost about $10 billion, and you can see details at the Auburn Dam Council.

The big one though is the raising of Shasta Dam to its originally engineered height, tripling storage to 13.89 million acre feet (for a total of 16.19 million acre feet if both are completed) and Shasta was on the table in 2004, as this Bee article from 2004 .


“As California looks for new ways to increase water supplies in the face of mounting shortages, this monstrous 602-foot facade holding back the Sacramento River seems destined to grow even taller.

“It's a perfect spot for expansion, although it's not the only site under intense scrutiny in this scramble for new water storage.

“Shasta Dam was designed to be 800 feet tall, so adding concrete to its top presents no significant engineering obstacles.

"This is like adding a room on a house, rather than building a new house," said Michael J. Ryan, the Bureau of Reclamation's Northern California area manager, whose small office overlooks the dam, the lake and, on a clear day, Mount Shasta looming large in the distance.

“But most importantly, the clean, cold water it would add to the state's supply is exactly what water managers are looking for. A taller dam means additional downstream protection against floods, more downstream supply for farms and cities and, because Shasta Lake would be deeper, more cold water to send downriver when the salmon are looking for a place to spawn…

“From an engineering standpoint, it's a piece of cake. The dam, built between 1938 and 1945, was originally planned to be 200 feet taller. At 800 feet, it would have been the highest and biggest in the world….

“If Shasta Dam had been built up to its engineering limit in 1945, it is arguable that Northern and Central California would not be facing a critical water shortage now.

“According to a 1999 Bureau of Reclamation study, a dam 200 feet taller would be able to triple storage to 13.89 million acre-feet of water.

“Still, tripling the size of Shasta Lake, on paper at least, would store nine times the projected 2020 water deficit for the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Tulare Lake basins during normal water years.

“But the Bureau of Reclamation concluded in its 1999 report on Shasta Dam that raising it by 200 feet would be prohibitively expensive - $5.8 billion.”