FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It was a step forward Friday in the effort to keep more water in the Central Valley.
The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation joined together near Millerton Lake to sign a memorandum of understanding.
Water experts agreed to complete feasibility studies of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir.
If authorized by congress and jointly funded, the project would create more than 1 million acre-feet of new water storage, that's two-and-a-half times the current storage capacity of Millerton Lake.
"So on good years this reservoir empties and fills itself three to four times," Representative Jim Costa told the crowd. "That's why Temperance Flat is so important. It can hold 1.2 million acre-feet plus of new storage.
Those who support the project say Temperance Flat Dam would allow for the capture of more of the river's high flows and improve groundwater management in the San Joaquin Valley.
But environmental groups question whether the expected $3 billion cost is worth the environmental impact it would cause.