As the state grapples with drought, it confronts the decades of inaction by state and federal officials in expanding its water system.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal, the authors criticize the State with failing to solve water problems over the past several decades.
One of the seemingly easiest ways to expand California’s water supply would be to raise the height of the 602-foot Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, adding the equivalent of another reservoir to the drought-stricken state.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation has been studying the idea to some degree since 1980. But regulatory delays and pushback from critics—including a Native-American tribe that has performed war dances at the dam—prevented it from happening.
Raising the dam, which is a fairly common procedure though not on this magnitude, would cost about $1.3 billion. Getting the project funded through Congress and other sources, however, would be a challenge.
The hurdles in expanding the Shasta Dam underscore a broader problem in the nation’s most populous state as it grapples with a devastating four-year drought: state and federal officials haven’t significantly upgraded California’s water infrastructure in decades.
Since the last major state or federal dam was completed in 1979, California’s population has grown to 39 million people from 23 million.
One of the obstacles of improving our water infrastructure is the pressure from environmentalist groups who say that new or expanded dams are a waste of money and a threat to fish and other wildlife. Remember to the environmentalist, animal life is more important than human life.
Governor Brown has a $15.5 Billion [whenever the government gives a cost estimate, it is always wise to at least double it. GA] plan to build twin 30-mile long tunnels beneath the San Joaquin Delta in the center of the State to bypass crumbling levees and move water more reliably to the South. This proposal has created much controversy and opposition. As a result, opponents have put it on the November 2016 ballot.
The point here is that water infrastructure in California has been completely mismanaged. There are ways to create water storage, water capture, and water reclamation infrastructure, but that will not happen under the incompetent leadership of the present State government.
This article gives a good analysis of the water problem in California, provides the arguments of both environmentalists and conservatives, and suggests reasonable solutions. If you are interested in the water problems facing California I recommend you read the full article.