Legislators pitch water bond in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

One key element of the bond would be construction of another dam on the San Joaquin River, at a place known as Temperance Flat.

The argument for the dam got a big boost from a just-released study that says the dam would be worth the billions it will cost to build.

For the Central Valley, the most important part of the proposed water bond is the proposed dam at Temperance Flat.

Located further upriver from Friant Dam, Temperance Flat would be more 600 feet tall and hold more than a million acre feet of water -- twice the capacity of Millerton Lake.

It was a topic at the legislative hearing on the proposed $6.5 billion water bond which earmarks $1.5 billion for water storage.

A feasibility study just released by the Bureau of Reclamation puts the dam's price tag at $2.5 billion. Other Funding could come from the federal government and water users, who say the drought shows just how great the need for more water is.

The bureau estimates it would take at least a dozen years to get the dam built.

The water bond is not a sure thing. A bill authorizing the election would require approval of the state Legislature to get it on the ballot. California Gov. Jerry Brown would also have to sign the legislation, and he has indicated reluctance to put a big spending measure on this year's ballot.

The bond measure is being pushed by State Assembly Member Henry T. Perea of Fresno. He has scaled down the original bond measure written in 2009 from $11 billion to $6.5 billion.

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