facebook twitter you tube

Public Responses


No More Dams?

Mar 04, 2019

Re:  California should stop thinking about more dams. The state is brimming with them

I found this article a little incoherent. If the state has no more good dam sites, that would be a compelling argument all by itself against building any more. I understand the cost argument. The "water expert's" argument made no sense. It sounds like he is saying that in our common low rainfall years, there would be no water to fill a reservoir, so they would be useless. OK. But we're not building dams for flood control. We would be building them to hold water needed to support us during dry years. It's like inventory. Build it when you can, use it when you need it.


We need to realize water policies developed over 130 years ago on the heels of the Little Ice Age are invalid because scientists have proven the west has been an incredibly arid climate for at least 6,000 years. My grandmother grew up a gold miner's daughter 130 years ago at 4,500 feet elevation off Henness Pass Rd, the main wagon road into California north of Donner Pass. They had 6 to 8 feet of permanent winter snow every winter. Their winter door was in the gable, and the family went everywhere on skis they called snowshoes. Juan Cabrillo wrote of snow capped mountains around Carmel when he sailed by in 1542 at the beginning of the Little Ice Age. California never gets that quantity of low elevation snow anymore. We need to live within our means, and that means at least 800,000 acres of Central Valley farmland should remain or return to dryland farming or pasture that it was 50 years ago. Recharging our aquifers is the key, and I'm glad California finally recognized unregulated pumping of our aquifers was never sustainable.


How about a really cheap alternative: cut back the growing of CA's 4 top export crops by 1/2 and save more than 20\% of all the water used in the state. These crops are mostly grown as investments for East Coast hedge funds - for the most part CA consumers dont use them - they are heavily subsidized by CA taxpayers - their cut back would free up water and land for more beneficial crops and add moe jobs - and we could almost double the amount of water available for all the homes, businesses & manufacturing throughout the state. Cost to CA consumers and taxpayers: ZERO!


Get the tunnel under the Delta built and when we have excess runoff Winters like this one, transfer as much of that excess as possible to the Central Valley and recharge the aquifers that have been overdraft during the dry years.

Martin Schmidt