California’s drought and water crisis has caused two lawmakers — one a Democrat and the other a Republican — to actually step forward and proposed new water storage for the state.
It is an action we were not certain we would see, but dire times sometimes bring positive action.
Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat, and Doug LaMalfa, a Republican, both members of the House of Representatives, called for building a new reservoir north of Sacramento. At the same time they called for accelerating an existing federal feasibility study to authorize construction of the Sites Reservoir and they hope construction will begin next year.
This is the first real attempt to build new water storage in the state, although Rep. Devin Nunes has proposed a dam (Temperance Flat) on the San Joaquin River above Millerton Lake that would add storage to that watershed, but so far that has not gone very far.
While we would rather see the new dam to increase storage in the Friant system, we’ll take whatever we can get and the Sites Reservoir proposal would add 1.9 million acre feet of water for a state that is getting more thirsty by the day. The Sites Reservoir would ensure growers on the west side of the Valley would get water and that could free up more Friant water for the east side growers here who are suffering this year.
We know getting a new reservoir built in this state will not come easy. Already, environmentalists with their heads in the sand are saying we only need to conserve more water, but more storage is key for this state to survive.
We call on Gov. Jerry Brown to show the same vision his father had and endorse the idea and do all he can to get state approval. We also call on our senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to support the plan. It is time to really do something about this state’s water crisis and not just throw band aids at what water shortages cause — loss of farm income and farm jobs.