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Simple Arithmetic

We want all the water we can get, but does this really deliver water to farms in a way that will really help?

Aug 26, 2017

We've been reading about the Temperance Flat application for Prop 1 funding.  We're trying to figure our how much water there will be in the pipeline on an annual basis.  The proposed project will hold 1.3 million acre-feet.  The concept is that we'll get these big rain years every 7 or 8 years and be able to store the water for use over the the next 7 or eight years.  So, if you divide 1.3 million by 7 you get 185,000 acre-feet per year.  But, if the public through Prop 1 pays 50%, then the public gets 50% of the water.  Public water is defined as environmental  That means the remaining 50% goes to cities and ag which will be 92,000 acre-feet per year. 

How far will 92,000 acre-feet go?  Remember, an acre of land requires 3 acre-feet to farm most crops.  So, 92,000 acre-feet will only allow farming on 30,000 acres.  And, according to the article below, "if Delta water supplies to Southern California should be disrupted, supplies from Temperance Flat could be called upon during times of water emergencies, proponents said."  So, SoCal might get some of the 92,000 acre-feet?  

The Friant system alone has 1.1-million acres.  That's a lot of land to spread 92,000 acre-feet of water.  But, the article below also says, "the dam would help farmers and communities in the Valley, from Chowchilla to Bakersfield on the east side, and also from Los Banos to Kettleman City on the west side."  So, we're going to spread the 92,000 acre-feet to the westside as well?

We want all the water we can get, but does this really deliver water to farms in a way that will really help?  How far can you spread 92,000 acre-feet a year?

We think we must be missing something as our simple arithmetic doesn't seem to add up, so if you know what we're missing please let us know.  In the event we're correct, we've working on our next newsletter about where we go from here.


A big dam east of Fresno has been talked about for years. Now it’s time to talk money

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