published on May 3, 2018 - 1:56 PM
Written by David Castellon

The California Water Commission reportedly has decided the idea of building Temperance Flat Dam upstream of Millerton Reservoir in Friant just doesn’t hold water.

That according to state Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, who sent out an email early this afternoon stating that the CWC commissioners had voted against funding Temperance Flat.

A few minutes later, at 12:19 p.m., his staff sent out a another email stating, “Sorry for the confusion. The official vote on all projects will happen about 1 p.m. today. Project officials say they are merely waiting on the vote as a technicality, as they see no hope of state funding for Temperance Flat.”

CWC officials couldn’t be reached immediately to verify this.

The staff for the CWC had recommended awarding $177 million for the project. Supporters had asked for $1 billion, maintaining that the new dam would be a critical asset for the Valley to store extra water during severely dry years and would help the Friant Dam downstream protect the region from flooding.

Temperance Flat is one of 11 major water-storage projects vying for portions of $2.7 in Proposition 1 bond funding earmarked for water storage. Officials with the San Joaquin Valley Water Authority — representing Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Merced counties, along with several Valley cities and tribal governments — have strongly backed the proposed dam, which would need federal funding and fees from water districts and local communities on top of the state dollars to build.

In his initial email, Patterson, who testified in favor of the dam during Wednesday’s CWC hearing, stated, “The commission majority made a huge mistake today. They ignored every self-evident value of the Temperance Flat reservoir. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save, store, move and use millions of acre feet of water — water that is now wasted and recklessly flushed to the sea. “Today’s decision was a shameful betrayal of the clear intention of voters when they approved these funds for surface storage.”

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