Federal SystemRivers

Temperance Flat Dam on indefinite hold after report shows it doesn’t pencil out for water users

 •  by Lois Henry
The Temperance Flat would dam a section of the San Joaquin River behind the Friant Dam, which holds Millerton Lake. It would capture water during flood years that Millerton is too small to hold.

An investment analysis that looked at how much it would cost water users to build and operate the proposed Temperance Flat Dam northeast of Fresno without government funding was finished earlier this year and quietly passed among water districts, which just as quietly asked the federal government to shelve work on the project.

A small group, made up of agricultural water districts and some cities, was assembled by the Temperance Flat Authority to participate in the investment analysis done by Stantec.

The group has still not made the analysis public as it was purposely kept in “draft” form exempting it from disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

SJV Water, however, obtained a copy.

The basic storage costs were staggering, according to the analysis.

If users simply stored their share of high-flow San Joaquin River behind the dam, it would cost them about $9,000 an acre-foot during the 50-year capital cost repayment period, dropping to $7,000 per acre-foot after repayment.

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Lois Henry
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