California Water Commission holds hearing in Fresno

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Passage of the California Water Bond set aside $7.5 billion dollars for state water projects. (KFSN)

Passage of the California Water Bond set aside $7.5 billion dollars for state water projects. Many in the Valley have been pushing for a new dam at Temperance Flat.

The California Water Commission held a public hearing at Fresno City Hall. The commission will ultimately decide which projects will be approved.

The drought has dried up thousands of acres of Valley farmland and orchards as well as the jobs they create. The commission heard testimony on how a new dam at Temperance Flat could ease a worsening problem.

Javier Guzman of Huron translated for farm laborer Ysidro Flores. He told the commission, "He is asking you if you know how it feels to live without water and its effects on the children."

The words brought one commissioner to tears. Temperance Flat Dam would be built above Millerton Lake at a cost of about $2.5 billion dollars. But support for the project was not unanimous at the hearing.

Steve Klassen said, "You can't store water in a 3 or 4 or $5 billion dollar storage facility over an eight year drought and expect anything but million dollar water an acre foot of muddy water at the end of it."

Most everyone else supported Temperance Flat as well as the sites reservoir in northern California.

Barry Bedwell of the California Fresh Fruit Association said, "Given the overall impact to the state it is difficult at this initial stage not to put these projects at the highest level of priority."

The commission must consider funding for several state projects including storage, recycling and watershed protection.

Commissioner Daniel Curtin told those gathered, "To make an above ground storage facility the most effective in this area it has to be tied as much as possible to a below ground recharge program."

Similar hearings have been held around the state to help the commission make its final decision before the end of the year.



Related Topics:
politicspoliticswatercalifornia waterdroughtFresno
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