Surface Storage vs Water Conservation
Though the Legislature doesn't agree on many things, there is support for spending money on water storage projects. That usually means building more dams and reservoirs. But is more surface water storage at all helpful?
- Dams are expensive to build. Each costs billions of dollars to construct and to maintain.
- Dams are highly destructive to the surrounding environment. The reservoirs they create flood land that could support wildlife or human populations. They disrupt salmon and steelhead habitat as well.
- Dams have diminishing returns. With over 1000 dams already built, there is very little water to collect anymore.
What are some other solutions?
Californians can work together to save water. We've cut our per capita use by 50% in the past 40 years, and there's no sense stopping now.
Water recycling efforts work. Reusing wastewater and stormwater lessens the impact on our rivers and reservoirs.
Where surface storage falls short, underground storage picks up the slack. We already store enough water under our feet to fill Hetch Hetchy 15 times, and there's lots of room left.