As George Will wrote in his column today about Meg Whitman, a possible candidate for governor of California:
“To change Sacramento, which Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego television stations barely cover, she must find new ways to communicate with a disconnected public. Because California is second among the states only to Wisconsin in Internet connectivity, she hopes to directly arouse the state for challenges such as modernizing the water storage and delivery system that was designed for a California with half today's population.
"There is," she says, "plenty of water in California -- we can't get it from where it is to where it is needed." The result, partly because of aggressive environmentalism, is "a slow-motion Katrina" in some Central Valley towns where unemployment is above 40 percent.”
We have been posting on the plentitude of California water for some time, and the lack of the political savvy—at least since the last century—to do anything about it.
Along with the obvious solution for our area, the building of Auburn Dam, which would double our storage capacity—now appears to be off the table though congressional action can restore it—there is another that would solve the water problems for the larger region and that is the raising of Shasta Dam to its originally engineered height of 200 feet higher than it now is, tripling its water supply, which an article from the Los Angeles Times describes:
“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.
“Sheri Harral, public affairs officer at the dam, said World War II and materials shortages associated with the war effort led to a decision to stop construction at 602 feet.
"The thinking was to come back and add on to it if ever there was a need to," Harral said. "They started looking at raising it in 1978."
“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.”