Second in a three part series on the Auburn Dam (which we have long supported building) from the Sacramento Union.
Part One is here.
“The complete American River project in the original State Water Plan in the 1920s included both Folsom and Auburn dams. Though engineered as a stand-alone dam, Folsom Dam works best in tandem with a dam at Auburn.
“Without the construction of the Auburn Dam, Folsom has proven to be inadequate in providing flood protection, water supplies and recreation.
Folsom is undergoing modification to improve its capacity to dump floodwater so that the dam is not overtopped and destroyed (many in the region can remember the narrow escape during the floods of 1986).
“Currently, the Folsom Dam offers less than 100-year flood protection. Its redesign to 200-year protection requires raising the dam 3 feet, improving the outlet works, constructing new auxiliary spillways and building dikes. The refit is expected to be completed in 2015 and will cost taxpayers at least $2 billion.
“If the Auburn Dam were constructed, flood control on the American River would increase to 400-year protection. The flood control operations of the Folsom Dam for the North and Middle forks of the American River would move to the Auburn Dam. Some 400,000 acre-feet of flood space would be reserved in Folsom to provide 400-year protection for the South Fork.
Auburn Dam’s additional water would also increase the power generation capacity at the Folsom Dam. The water constraints on electric power generation are minimal, as long as a given amount is put into Folsom Lake each month or so. Additional hydroelectric generation from both Folsom and Auburn dams would contribute to the higher percentage of green energy recently mandated in California…
The Auburn Dam’s controlled-water flows and temperature would benefit the salmons’ fall run and the human beings who recreate in the American River Parkway. Managing up to 2.7 million acre-feet of runoff annually, the Auburn Dam would provide adequate flow of high-quality water for the salmon and protect the physical integrity of the American River Parkway for wildlife and diverse natural vegetation.”