Hold your water

With the Republican takeover of Congress, local GOPer Tom McClintock is poised to take over as chairman of an influential House Subcommittee on Water and Power.

You know what that means, don’t you? Auburn Dam is back, baby!

That’s what McClintock is hoping, anyway, as he wrote in his blog last week. “We shouldn’t kid ourselves—it is a momentous issue involving multiple jurisdictions. … But the opportunity at least now exists to discuss the structure for the project.”

The dam, McClintock says, will offer “enough water for more than two million households, enough cheap and emissions-free electricity for 800,000 homes, 400 year flood control for the Sacramento Delta and one of the west’s premier recreational lakes.”

It would also destroy 50 miles of natural habitat, including spawning areas for wild trout and other sensitive frog and fish species. Oh, and filling the reservoir behind the dam might trigger an earthquake.

Auburn Dam was first authorized by Congress in 1965, but was soon put on hold after one quake brought attention to the big fat fault line that runs under the site. The dam idea was revived again in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s by McClintock’s predecessor, U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, until it was killed for good in 2008—or so some thought, when the State Water Resources Control Board revoked water rights for the dam project.

It’s the board that McClintock sees as the biggest obstacle, because it is “ideologically and politically opposed to restoring abundance as the objective of our water and power policy.”

It’s all about the abundance for Congressman Tom. And abundance is what it will take to build this sucker—$6 to $8 billion, according to the most recent federal study.

Of course, McClintock isn’t asking for a big pork project. Instead, he proposes the feds make a loan, to be paid back from the abundance generated from selling water and power. “Taxpayers would bear none of the cost but reap the cornucopia of jobs, water, electricity, jobs, tourism, flood-control and jobs—not to mention an enduring revenue stream available for local improvements once the loans are paid off. And jobs.”

Did he mention jobs?

Also, there’ll be lemonade springs where the bluebird sings, and a lake of stew and whiskey, too, and you can paddle all around ’em in a big canoe.

Speaking of abundance, when will the city start charging Nestlé Waters North America its fair share for the abundant profits it makes off of Sacramento’s water?

Instead, the company keeps plowing its money into fancy PR to make us think Nestlé is good for the environment and good for the community.

For example, Nestlé donated 13,000 half-liter bottles of Arrowhead and Nestlé Pure Life to runners in the California International Marathon last weekend.

“We look forward to continuing to partner with our Sacramento neighbors to support healthy living and to promoting giving back to the community for many years to come,” read the company’s press release.

How generous, right? All that donated water would cost a couple thousand bucks in the store.

Of course, Nestlé pays just 75 cents per 100 cubic feet of Sacramento city water the company takes, which it then doses with a propriety mineral formulation, packages and sells back to us at an astronomical markup. The actual water in Nestlé’s generous gift was worth about $1.72. Well, $1.72 plus 13,000 plastic bottles getting dumped into the waste stream. So, yeah, thanks for all the partnering, Nestlé. You’re really partnering the hell out of us right now.