Some Dam Progress

Looks good, hope it actually happens; if so, a good beginning to rectify decades of inaction.

Excerpt from Sacramento Bee.

California took a big step Friday toward launching a new multibillion-dollar wave of reservoir construction.

After being accused of being overly tightfisted with taxpayer dollars, the California Water Commission released updated plans for allocating nearly $2.6 billion in bond funds approved by voters during the depths of the drought. The money will help fund eight reservoirs and other water-storage projects, including the sprawling Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and a small groundwater “bank” in south Sacramento County.

In its new blueprint, which remains tentative, the Water Commission nearly triples the amount of money it will spend compared to a preliminary allocation it put out in February.

With climate change expected to diminish the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the new reservoirs are seen as a way of bolstering California’s ability to store water. Sites, a $5.2 billion project straddling the Glenn-Colusa county line, and the $2.7 billion Temperance Flat reservoir east of Fresno, would become the two largest reservoirs built in California since Jerry Brown’s first stint as governor in the 1970s.

“The entire commission is eager to get all of this money out the door and fund these projects as fast as possible,” said Armando Quintero, the commisson’s chairman. The agency will hold hearings in early May and make its final determination in July.

The money comes courtesy of Proposition 1, a water bond approved by voters in 2014. Local water agencies promoting 11 different projects applied for a share of the money, but in early February the Water Commission declared that most of them weren’t eligible for nearly as much funding as they requested. The applicants were deemed eligible for a total of just $942 million, about one-fifth of what they wanted and considerably less than what’s available.

The result was instant controversy. Lawmakers and others said the commission was thwarting the will of the voters; one legislator appeared at a commission meeting dragging a child’s red wagon full of petitions demanding the money be spent in full. The protests peaked amid concern that another drought was coming, although late-spring storms have eased some of those fears.

On Friday, the commission said eight projects now are considered eligible for almost $2.6 billion in total. That roughly matches the amount of available dollars. (Voters authorized $2.7 billion in spending, but the pot shrinks to just under $2.6 billion because of bond-finance costs and other expenses.)

Retrieved April 20, 2018 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article209439884.html

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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