The only conclusion you can reach from a few paragraphs in the recent story about the drought and water storage is that Los Angeles is smart and Sacramento is dumb.
As the article notes, Los Angeles has built enough water storage over the past several years to provide water through 2016 even under the present drought conditions, while Sacramento has built none.
While it is obvious that Los Angeles’ planning is based on their scarcity of water, and our lack of planning is based on an abundance of water, each assumption has exceptions and Sacramento is now living under such, with Folsom Lake becoming almost empty and the American River low enough to walk across, as many of us remember was the situation almost every summer before Folsom Dam was built.
As we have continually advocated, and as the original engineering done for the California State Water Project several decades ago called for, a higher Shasta Dam and building Auburn Dam would virtually end California’s drought and flood water problems.
We cannot count on abundance, as the current drought is making crystal clear.
For the long-term future we need the Auburn Dam, which Congressman Tom McClintock notes: “Ultimately, it will be constructed,” McClintock said. “The only question is if it’s built in time to prevent the (Sacramento flooding) calamity.” Sacramento Bee, “Auburn dam back in play as McClintock takes over House panel”, January 15, 2011
Additionally, for the absolute best storage, the raising of Shasta Dam from the current 600 feet high to the 800 feet high it was originally engineered to be, which would triple storage from the existing 4,552,000 acre feet to 13,890,000 acre feet.
We all know that the political will—as shown by public leadership in Los Angeles—to embark upon this type of water storage development for the Sacramento region does not appear to be on the horizon, but that is no reason for all of us not to continue to remind political leadership that there is a solution out there, and for them to continue calling for conservation without working for that solution, which could provide abundant water in wet years and enough water in dry years, is to continue failing a basic principle of public leadership; leadership.
David H. Lukenbill, Founder, American River Parkway Preservation Society
Sacramento Bee Article Referenced: California drought will test Jerry Brown, By David Siders and Matt Weiser, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014