Many questions on the current measure
As a civil engineer, I support new reservoirs, raising existing reservoirs and adding underground storage to augment California's water supply.
Correctly designed, these facilities would economically increase dry-year water supplies to maintain municipalities, industry and agricultures throughout the state without environmental degradation.
Unlike Gov. Jerry Brown's fixation with pouring billions of tax dollars into the uneconomic and environmentally disastrous Delta Tunnels, which will produce no additional water nor capture flood flows, the reservoir projects would also enable increased production of pollution-free, low-cost hydroelectric generation, reduce flooding, benefit fisheries and provide additional recreation.
Unfortunately, according to a recent Twitter post by Jessica Calefati, the current $7 billion bond proposal provides only $2.5 billion for water storage projects and $850 million for cleanup of groundwater. That totals $3.35 billion for increased water supply. Another $1.47 billion would be expended for ecosystem and watershed restoration projects, which are most likely to decrease water supply for human uses.
There was no information on how the balance would be expended. Therefore, I cannot support the current bond measure.
Larry L. Harrison
Bond will be good for state's economy
I initially support what is to be called Proposition 1 on the November ballot, in part, because I believe that it will provide funding for new surface and subsurface water storage.
About every 10 years, California gets heavy rains and runoff. These are the years when we need to capture all the water possible and store it for future use.
Most of this water will probably be available to farmers in our Central Valley. This will be good for the California economy.
I support any new effort to increase water storage in California.
Would money really be used for water?
I probably won't support such a bond measure because our state officials find ways to divert bonds from water storage to other things. The last water bonds passed did nothing to improve water storage.
The last surface water storage in Northern California was the Oroville Dam in 1966. California's population has since soared from 18 million to 38 million.
Besides, Gov. Jerry Brown is prone to use money any way he wants. Note he's threatening to build the twin tunnels even without voter approval. Likewise high-speed rail, wanting to divert environmental funds to it.
Then we have the so-called environmentalists who will undoubtedly challenge any effort to increase surface storage.
Even with passage, the California Water Commission says any new reservoir will take eight years to complete.
Perhaps we should follow San Diego County: spend the $7 billion on desalination. Its plant, to be on line in 2016, is costing $1 billion and will deliver 50 million gallons daily.
We must make sure bond funds are used to build more storage. But don't count on it.
Bonds are much too expensive method
For the price, these government-proposed dams promise limited net increase to California's storage. There is a better way.
Delta farms cover 840 square miles. Levee farms, at sea-level 160 years ago, have been sinking 1-3 inches per year. Their peat-soil dissipates when farmed, so farms sink. Two-thirds of them are now 6-36 feet below sea level.
Sediment deposits have concurrently raised river bottoms. Levees are then built higher. Raising one levee side while lowering the other makes failure inevitable. Farmers and taxpayers can go bust.
These farms can be repurposed as commercial reservoirs, with owners reborn as water purveyors. As reservoirs, these farms could provide greater net water storage additions than these November-ballot dams -- Sites, Los Vaqueros, Temperance Flat, Shasta -- combined. Farm reservoirs could be operational one by one. Dams take 10 years to build.
Annually, 30 million acre-feet of water runoff normally transit our Delta and 23 million returns to the Pacific. These farms can make us virtually water-independent by containing just some of it. The four dams propose smaller water capture at 10 times greater cost.
Don't need storage, we need more water
Will it improve storage? Certainly, but if you don't have any clothes, you don't need more closets.
We don't need water storage, we need water. Instead of building reservoirs, expecting rain that may not come, let's put the money toward creating water. Let's build water desalination plants in Death Valley. At 282 feet below sea level, we won't even have to pump water into it. Then, we use a mirror array to focus existing solar energy to boil away the water and condense it back to potable. And the steam created can even supply power to the pumps to deliver water to the people.
Remember from past bond measures, the $7.5 billion bond will become nearly $15 billion when you throw in the interest on the bonds. If we increase taxes and make it pay-as-you-go, the entire $15 billion can go to making water now, not after the next storm.
Why do we pay lots of people to be on water conservation and regulatory boards if they can't come up with solutions like this?
Questions surround the bond spending
I am not certain that passing another statewide water bond issue will improve water storage. Dino Cortopassi's "Liar-Liar" ad sharply examines and questions the expenditures of previous water bond monies.
How have California readers and California editors responded to his charges?
Peter D. Reimer