Sunday, February 18, 2007


Auburn Dam - High Costs and High Risks

Auburn Dam benefits are overstated

Despite the recent study showing high costs and low benefits, predicting Auburn Dam supporters' continued fight for this foolish project was as easy as predicting a sunrise. Politicians who support Auburn Dam have published another article today. They claim that an Auburn Dam would provide increased flood protection, but fail to mention that it would be "dam irresponsible" to build this dam on an earthquake fault. This dam would actually increase the risks of flooding. They claim that an Auburn Dam would increase water supply and hydroelectric power, but fail to mention the recent study indicating less water and less power benefits than were predicted in the past. They claim that the reservoir behind the dam would provide recreational benefits, but fail to mention that Folsom Reservoir is already available nearby for those who want reservoir-based recreation. There would be no mitigation for the river recreation and wildlife habitat that would be lost if another section of the American River canyon was drowned under another reservoir.

Auburn Dam porkbarrel project - who would benefit?

An Auburn Dam porkbarrel project would enrich a few contractors who would build it, a few landowners whose property would be along the shore of a new reservoir, and a few more landowners who could develop housing subdivisions based on water from a new reservoir. These few powerful people will continue to fight for their porkbarrel project forever with the help of local politicians who are willing to work against the greater public good.

Flood Control for Sacramento - Sensible and Affordable Projects

I support upgrading of Folsom Dam to make it more effective as the flood control structure that it was originally supposed to be. I support upgrading American River levees downstream of Folsom Dam to protect existing structures. I support sensible zoning regulations that encourage setback levees along rivers wherever possible and that prevent new housing or business developments on flood-prone lands. I support lowering the intakes of the Sacramento Weir (pdf) and upgrading operating procedures for the Sacramento Bypass to reduce the risk of flooding in Sacramento along the Sacramento River levees. For more information see News10 article on Sacramento weir.

More about: River Conservation, Auburn Dam and Flood Control.

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This surely is the mother of all river-based boondoggles. It would be interesting to learn the names of those property owners who would benefit -- as well as the names of the real estate moguls who would stand to enrich themselves.
Yes, the politicians who want federal funding for this "flood control" dam represent upstream districts that are not at risk for flooding. Clearly what they are after is a rich pork barrel project for their districts.
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