Fresno, Calif. - Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley signed a document asking the California Water Commission for $1.3 billion to help build Temperance Flat Dam above Millerton Lake.
"We're anticipating we'll get a good allocation. Frankly, if we got between $800 million and $1 billion we'd be very, very happy with that," said Worthley.
Federal funds and private investors would then cover the rest of the project's three billion dollar price tag. While project supporters applauded the move inside the Fresno County Farm Bureau--opponents of Temperance Flat Dam picketed outside.
"$2.8 billion we could get better water, more water for the buck by recharge," said Worthley.
During wet years, Temperance Flat Dam would be able to store 1.3 million acres feet of water.
"That we can use not only for our cities but also for our farmers and continue to be that economic engine that moves California forward," said Rudy Salas, Bakersfield Assemblyman.
But opponents say the project isn't worth the economic and environmental cost.
"People need a little reprieve from city living and we're going to take that way and it's going to be a big mud hole. It's never going to be full of water," said Sally Adlesh, Clovis.
Mario Santoyo of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure authority says Temperance Flat is competing for state funds with the sites reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County.
"We will first hear where we stand in general in January of 2018. They will make their final decisions June of 2018," Santoyo said.
The core of the leadership group has been pushing for Temperance Flat for the past 16 years.