State unlikely to significantly fund construction of Temperance Flat dam, supporters say

FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- It appears increasingly unlikely that the California Water Commission will provide significant funding for the construction of a new water storage dam in Central California.

The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority announced today that Commission staff has assigned a low public benefit ratio to the Temperance Flat Dam project.

The project would dam the San Joaquin River and would allow 1.3 million acre-feet of water to be stored above Millerton Lake northeast of Fresno, which itself stores about a half million acre-feet of water

Earlier the project was given a public benefit ratio of 0.10. The Authority appealed and the Water Commission increased the ratio to 0.38. A ratio of 1.0 is generally considered to be the minimum needed for a project to advance. The Authority believes the project should have a ratio of 2.68.

The Authority had been asking for about a billion dollars in funding from the Commission that would come from Proposition 1 funding under the Water Storage Investment Program. With the current public benefit ratio of 0.38, the project would only be eligible for a maximum of $177 million.

The Authority says it's not giving up on building the dam, members now plan to appeal the ratio ruling directly to the water commissioners in early May.

The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority was formed by Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Madera and Merced counties to develop the Temperance Flat Project. The authority also includes representatives from valley cities and water agencies.
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