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California agriculture needs more water storage

Remember the heavy rains and deep snow last winter in California? The excess melt water is headed for the ocean, as the state does not have enough storage lakes to keep the water for irrigation.

Mario Stantoya is the executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority. Stantoya said there is only a short window for the state to apply to build structures, and there must be strong justification for doing so.

“It (the application) has to contain what public benefits the project will derive from its operation,” Stantoya said. “That sounds simple, but it is not simple because there is so much engineering and analysis that needs to be done. That effort itself is probably going to cost us somewhere around $800,000.”

The addition of the Temperance Flat Dam would triple the current reservoir’s capacity and potentially restore salmon to the San Joaquin River. Stantoya says $2.5 billion has been made available, but several dam construction applications are pending across the state.