The idea of capturing and storing more water, especially during rough and dry times such as this, has long captivated and moved many. That’s how life in the Wild West came to persevere and thrive. Part of the rallying cries in the state capitol last week called on Gov. Jerry Brown to put a water bond on the November ballot, so voters may choose whether or not to pay for additional storage of water, which may include Temperance Flat.
Temperance Flat is a proposed project that would build a new dam on the upper San Joaquin River, upstream from Millerton Lake and Friant Dam. During years of excess rainfall, the Temperance Flat reservoir could trap about one million acre-feet of surface water that might otherwise run off.
When it rains, Friant Dam holds about half a million acre-feet of water in Millerton Lake. During heavy rain seasons, like the winters of 2004 and 2005, Temperance Flat would provide additional water storage, helping offset the effects of drought years like the last three the Valley has faced, according to Manuel Cunha Jr., president of the Nisei Farmers League in Fresno.
Current estimates of costs for building Temperance Flat range between $2.5 to 3 billion, according to Ron Jacobsma, the general manager at Friant Water Authority. His agency oversees the distribution of water to several districts, including the Madera Irrigation District. Taxpayers and those who take the water for private use would share the cost of the new dam...