California Has Millions of Acre-feet of Water Waiting to Be Built

As part of its May Revise rollout, the Newsom administration announced $5.1 billion for water infrastructure and drought response. While the announcement invests on funding better data collection, continuing the implementation of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and maintaining current water infrastructure, nothing in Newsom’s proposed funding will solve the real problem facing California: lack of sufficient water supply.

Steven Greenhut, author of the PRI book Winning the Water Wars, talked about Newsom’s proposed water spending on Valley Public Radio recently, saying “a lot of it is about information and conservation, and I’m not against any of these things…but my argument in my writing is we need to promote long-term policies of water abundance that put more water into the state’s giant plumbing system.”

Greenhut is right that many of Newsom’s proposals are necessary for safe drinking water, flood protection, and reliable water conveyance. Newsom also extended the drought emergency proclamation to 41 counties on May 10, which gives state regulators greater flexibility for reservoir releases, conservation, and voluntary water transfers.

But several of the proposals are questionable, such as hundreds of millions of dollars for studying solar panels over aqueducts.

History shows us that the state moves quickly when it necessary. The reconstruction of the Oroville spillways, a massive undertaking at the state’s largest reservoir in northern California, was completed in roughly two years.

If the state wanted to prepare for future droughts, Newsom should pursue with the same urgency the all but forgotten water storage expansion projects approved by the California Water Commission in recent years.

In 2018, the California Water Commission awarded Proposition 1 (2014) water bond funding to eight water storage projects. Prop. 1 gave the California Water Commission $2.7 billion for investments in new or existing reservoirs. Specifically, the money had to fund “public benefits” related to any water storage project that applied for funding.

The commission awarded various levels of funding to eight water storage projects that will collectively increase the total storage capacity by 4.3 million acre-feet.

Unfortunately, Californians will have to wait three more years until the first project is complete. The last of the eight projects may not be done until after 2030, depending on permitting. With the majority of California reservoirs sitting at or below half capacity, imagine what an extra million or two million acre-feet would have done to help California’s environment, agriculture, and cities.

The work on the eight water projects, if they are indeed all built, may be doing some of the most important work nobody seems to be talking about to ensure California has enough water for future generations and future droughts.

Yet case studies and lessons cannot replace the fact that California needs more water. The California Department of Water Resources said they expect to deliver five percent of requested water supplies in 2021. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said they won’t be delivering any of their contracted water for 2021.

With millions of acre-feet underfunded and waiting to be built, Newsom and his administration should put the construction of these water projects front in center in his water plan. Anything less threatens the stability of Californians and its delicate water infrastructure.

Evan Harris is the media relations and outreach manager for PRI.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

Comments

  1. Boris Badenov says

    I’ve got a few questions beyond the dams that will NEVER be built because of the leftist eco loons and the totally inept politicians and their minions trying to look importand getting a few buck for their buddies.

    They had to drain Anderson Dam in Santa Clara County, but I haven’t heard a word about actually fixing it, now would be the perfect time. Or am I being too sane?

    Our local percolation ponds haven’t been filled in 3 years, Campbell area, WHY do we have so much ground water that they aren’t necessary? Or is is a ploy to get yet another rate increase for San Jose Water?

    1. Are the cutting the flow of water to the Sacramento river or are they keeping the snail darter nice and wet? 2. Are they still saying that they need to keep the water cool for the Salmon?

    What did the salmon do before we came along? Oh I know, the waited out in the ocean until the rivers came up. I use to fish the San Lorenzo way back when, during dry years it was bone dry but when the rains cam, boom the Steel Head came up.

    It’s all BULLony.

  2. I can only hope rick grenell from Palm Springs gets in the gov race. He would bring common sense and strength back to CA.

  3. ALL THE MORE REASON TO RECALL THIS ELITIST PRETTY BOY!!

  4. Conservation?
    Newsom will still be swimming in his pool, taking extended showers, and have the greenest garden in the state.
    Our elected know nothing about being “good stewards”, they either waste without remorse or ignore at our children’s peril.
    We don’t have good representation here in the golden state, we have selfish, party worshippers, who sell their soul to unions for the next election. The Citizen no longer has a vote – these selfish people have corrupted our election to win through fraud!
    Newsom is currently shoveling money into the high speed debacle, all in favor of unions.
    California NEEDS three new hydroelectric dams! Built to provide the population with sufficient water and electricity. Both being in critical supply today! Those same dams will providing sufficient water to the agriculture industry that feeds the nation. For the poorly educated; Water grows food!
    But, alas, we have Democrats in power and they are a selfish, incompetent people who have two major talents that keep them in power with the uneducated voters.
    The Left and Democrats deceive and lie!

  5. Richard Cathcart says

    I regularly receive emailed Newsletters from several water-supply agencies State-wide. What impresses me most is that the Boards controlling these agencies are composed of socialites, untrained gadflies and photogenic people–none seem to be engineers, farmers, persons from the Middle Class or lower. Usually, every Newsletter features some professionally photographed smiling person getting some so-called “Achievement Award”. In other words, to echo a real-estate mantra, it is business and societal “connections, connections, connections”–and nothing else.

  6. Jennifer says

    THE MANUFACTURED DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE PART OF THE SIEGE WARFARE AGAINST AMERICA. FOR DECADES THEY HAVE BEEN SPRAYING CHEM-TRAILS OVER THE PACIFIC TO DRY OUT PRECIPITATION BEFORE IT HITS THE WEST COAST AND ACROSS THE ENTIRE WESTERN U.S. TO DRY OUT THE ATMOSPHERE TO INTENTIONALLY CAUSE DROUGHT. THIS IS SIEGE WARFARE.

    THERE’S ABSOLUTELY ZERO REASON TO BE IN A DROUGHT CONDITION BECAUSE WE CAN MAKE IT RAIN. THEY SPRAY CHEM-TRAILS TO DRY OUT THE ATMOSPHERE OR TO MAKE IT RAIN. COMPREHEND THIS: IF THERE’S DROUGHT – IT’S BECAUSE THE CORRUPT, EVIL POWERS THAT BE, WANT IT THAT WAY FOR CONTROL, MANIPULATION, DESTRUCTION OF CROPS, DESTRUCTION OF ECONOMIES, ETC.

    COUNTRIES AROUND THE PLANET ARE PAYING CERTAIN COMPANIES TO MAKE IT RAIN IN THEIR LANDS. LOOK INTO IT.

    OUR PLANET HAS ABUNDANT WATER AQUIFERS UNDER GROUND. THERE IS NO SCARCITY OF WATER. THERE IS ABUNDANCE OF ALL THINGS FOR THE BENEFIT OF MANKIND. THE PROBLEM IS THAT EVIL, CORRUPT PEOPLE/ENTITIES/CORPORATIONS/ORGANIZATIONS HAVE LITERALLY HIJACKED CONTROL OVER AMERICA, OVER THE PLANET BY WAY OF ELECTRONIC VOTER AND ELECTION FRAUD.

    THIS IS SIEGE WARFARE! THIS IS WEATHER MANIPULATION AS A WEAPON. READ. RESEARCH. OPEN YOUR EYES. USE YOUR BRAIN.

  7. JLSeagull says

    Proposition 1 in 2014 pedaled bond money for the Sites Reservoir and another down in the Central Valley. Were either of those among the eight projects proposed or is that money going to “repurposed for the Railroad to nowhere? If those bonds are use for other projects, the our “glorious elected leaders” and their sycophant bureaucrats should be rewarded with a vacation in prison for misappropriating public funds.

  8. Another democrat lie within a popular sounding wrapper. Had the bond money from the last nine water related propositions been used for the advertised purpose, there would be no water problem. A foundation truth, democrats lie.

Speak Your Mind

*