Raise the waters
It is absolutely necessary that we increase our watershed capacity throughout Northern California. Raising Folsom Dam is not enough, as flood protection is only one part of a bigger picture. Southern California receives much of its water from Northern California as water is pumped from the California Delta and shipped south to meet the needs of the Central Valley and Southern California. Southern California’s need for water continues to grow and the only way we can support their needs without severe environmental impact is by adding watershed capacity. Without additional water surface storage the brackish level of the Bay and Delta will continue to increase as water is pumped away from the Delta, eventually making this area unsuitable for agriculture.
Water is the most important commodity and agriculture is the most important industry in the world. Some may argue that in a free-market economy the supplier who can supply the item at the lowest cost will prevail. While I agree and support this concept with most products, when it comes to agriculture I disagree. We are a world power for many reasons, but remaining a world power has more to do with our self-reliance on food production than you might imagine. Without water we will be unable to ensure that our agriculture industry stays strong and continues to produce high-quality foods for the American people and the world.
With additional watershed capacity we will be able to generate clean, low-cost hydroelectric power that will help to improve air quality in California. An increased supply of water will lower the cost of water, and is an intelligent way to support our farmers and help them remain competitive. Building dams and reservoirs are infrastructure projects that create jobs and begin the process of economic recovery.
Conservation of water is not the answer in a growing population. There is plenty of water; we just do not capture enough of it to meet the demands of the state. Is Auburn Dam the answer? I do not know at this point. However, I am clear that we must build additional facilities to capture water, as it is liquid gold and will be the commodity that ensures California continues to move forward economically. As you can see, flood control becomes a calculated byproduct of these other more important issues.