Farm Bureau Supports Reservoir Expansion

Good news for California water, from AgAlert.

“Warning that California needs a concerted plan to adapt its aging water system to meet “significant and steadily mounting water insecurity issues” in the 21st century, the California Farm Bureau Federation has reiterated its support for two federal reservoir-expansion proposals.

“In separate comment letters, CFBF backed plans by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to increase the capacity of Lake Shasta Reservoir and San Luis Reservoir.

“The Shasta project involves raising the 602-foot-tall dam by 18.5 feet, or 3%, to increase water storage in Shasta Lake by 634,000 acre-feet. The Bureau of Reclamation says dedicated environmental storage from the expanded reservoir would improve water quality in the Sacramento River below the dam, by lowering water temperatures for survival of fish such as chinook salmon and others that migrate from the ocean to rivers to spawn. In addition, the agency said, the project would improve operational flexibility for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed downstream.

“Just as Shasta Dam and Lake are and have long been a cornerstone of California’s existing statewide water system, a modest expansion in this critical location is an indispensable part of any meaningful statewide water infrastructure adaptation strategy for the future,” CFBF wrote in its comments, filed last week.

“Justin Fredrickson, California Farm Bureau Federation environmental policy analyst, said the Shasta expansion project has been talked about and studied for years, noting that it was among a handful of surface storage projects identified in the late 1990s and early 2000s through the Cal-Fed Bay-Delta Program, a cooperative state-federal planning effort intended to protect the delta and provide water for urban and agricultural purposes….

“Scott Petersen, director of water policy for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, said the project would enhance the year-to-year reliability for water customers south of the delta.

“Without the project, Petersen said, “the challenges associated with water supply reliability for communities south of the delta and in the San Joaquin Valley will continue,” adding that as implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act moves forward, “not approving this project would be another lost opportunity.”

“Under current conditions, many years are very low or zero-allocation years for agricultural water contractors in the San Luis/Delta-Mendota system and south of the delta.

“Fredrickson said the proposed San Luis project “offers the ability to store more carryover water that can tide you over, and gives you greater flexibility and resilience in the drier years.”

“Ryan Jacobsen, chief executive officer of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said of the reservoir-expansion projects, “The Central Valley must have more long-term reliability with its water deliveries in order to sustain our agricultural communities. In the boom-or-bust cycles of California precipitation, we have to do more to capture the water available in wet years, knowing drought is just around the corner.”

Retrieved October 14, 2020 from https://www.agalert.com/story/?id=14381

Be well Everyone!

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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