KCET: Who Should Pay To Fix The Oroville Dam?

We’re featured in KCET Commentary:

Who Should Pay To Fix The Oroville Dam?
By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore The Delta | February 22, 2017

“The answer is the State Water Contractors, the beneficiaries of the project. That’s according to the Department of Water Resources. Water supply benefits are paid for by water contractors, and spillways are part of water supply protection.

The State Water Contractors include the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and big agricultural water districts like the Kern County Water Agency. Agricultural users like Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms and the Wonderful Company, consume 80 percent of the developed water in California, so they need to get out their checkbooks as well.

George Skelton, the Los Angeles Times’ capitol reporter in Sacramento, follows water policy very closely. He was quite blunt about who he thinks should pay for these repairs: the people who use the water. “Charge the water users.” Skelton writes. “A spillway wouldn’t be needed at all without a dam to store water for farms, industry and homes.”

As climate change brings more extreme weather to California, we will need to invest in repairing our existing dams; many are more than 50 years old and approaching, or already past, the end of their useful lives. Some dams may need to be rebuilt or torn down entirely to be made safe. Spillways may need to be redesigned, while floodplains and technological connections between our existing dams and groundwater recharge need to be created.

What we don’t need are the proposed $60 billion Delta Tunnels, which will sit empty more than half the time, yet will be designed with sedimentation ponds and fine fish screens not strong enough to handle flooding due to the volume of debris that moves downstream and into the Delta during flood events. Entire logs are floating down the Sacramento River right now.”

Related Posts