New dam could ease water woes in the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

The Friant Dam on Millerton Lake is filled with a precious resource for the Valley, irrigating farmland and supplying Fresno and other cities with water, but some say it's not enough.

"It's a small reservoir. Over the past 30 years, we've lost about 14 million acre feet to the ocean and we're continuing to lose water," said Mario Santoyo, Executive Director of the California Latino Water Coalition.

Supporters like Mario Santoyo say the solution is building the Temperance dam within Millerton Lake. Action News got a closer look at the proposed site along with leaders across the Valley.

"So if we can get more reliable water for our people, the better," said Jose Flores, a Clovis City Council Member.

Supporters say the dam could triple the amount of water storage space to 1.5 million acre feet and provide water to the Valley during drought. Temperance dam and a variety of other water projects including work to the delta are all included on future water bond. Supporters say it's crucial to fixing water woes in the Valley.

"We will progressively get to a point where either agriculture for our Valley is going to go away. And our cities won't be able to grow because there won't be enough water," Santoyo said.

However opponents say the Temperance Dam Project carries many concerns including costs, environmental impacts and concerns as to if the project would work as planned.

"The problem is there are so many dams and reservoirs on the San Joaquin River that already taps into 98 percent of the rivers water flow," said Steve Evans with Friends of The River.

If all goes as planned, California voters will decide the future of the Temperance dam and other water projects on the water bond, when they vote in November 2014.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.