Local political leaders pushing to get funding for Temperance Flats project

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Supporters of building Temperance Flat Dam are hoping a show of support from dozens of elected officials will give the project an edge in the fight for state funding. (KFSN)

Supporters of building Temperance Flat Dam are hoping a show of support from dozens of elected officials will give the project an edge in the fight for state funding.

"We have a short time frame here to secure that billion dollars," said Mario Santoyo, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure.

The project is estimated to cost more than $3-billion-- the one billion from the state would hopefully trigger federal funding.

Members of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority say once built the dam would capture the excess water flowing now, providing flood protection and saving some for dry years.

"What Temperance Flat will do is give us twice the capacity we have here and we will be able to store this water," said Buddy Mendes, Fresno County Supervisor.

But critics say the cost of the dam will not be worth the water it will store, Walt Shubin, a farmer and chairman of the group Save Our Streams, believes the dam is a pipe dream.

"I don't think it's ever gonna get built, they still have a long way to go on studies, and what do you call it, the environmental impact report and stuff. They've been studying this puppy for years and years and years."

In addition, other parts of the state are competing for the money. Congressmen from Northern California introduced Federal Legislation to help direct the money to the proposed Sites Reservoir Project on the Sacramento River.

Despite that, Assembly Member Jim Patterson believes Temperance Flat has the edge.

"I am convinced we are in the lead with respect to storage money, $3 billion worth, if we get that first billion the dominoes will fall and we will get this built."

The studies are not complete so it is still not clear if the Temperance Flat Dam project is economically feasible, that is whether the cost of building it is worth the amount of water it could potentially store. But, local farm and political interests believe it is a key answer to the Valleys drought and flooding problems.

State funds are expected to be released in late summer.
Related Topics:
politicswaterfresno countyconstruction
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