A joint letter pledging collaboration to develop the Temperance Flat Reservoir project was signed by four agencies representing water users in the San Joaquin Valley at Fresno City Hall on Friday.
Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, and San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority signed the letter during a news conference hosted by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.
The letter was addressed to California Water Commission Acting Executive Officer Taryn Ravazzini and talked about working with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and wanting to have staff equality, funding and support.
The four agencies are currently looking into adding their ideas into previous Temperance Flat studies.
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The proposal to build a second dam on the San Joaquin River upriver of Friant Dam at Temperance Flat appears to be gathering steam. House Resolution 23, a water bill offered in January by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, includes the provision to speed completion of California dam feasibility studies such as the proposed Temperance Flat Dam. It also could be in line for money from Proposition 1, a water bond act approved by more than two-thirds of California voters in 2014.
Advocates said flooding could be prevented if the state and federal government invest in a dam at Temperance Flat, which they say is critical to the Valley’s water future. Millerton Lake, which pools behind Friant Dam, has a relatively small storage capacity at 521,000 acre-feet, and a dam at Temperance Flat would provide more capacity that would be particularly useful to store water after winters of heavy rainfall and snowfall such as this year, advocates say.
Critics decry the environmental impacts and high costs of the project, estimated at $3 billion.