Temperance Flat Project Makes Significant Step Forward

A partnership between San Joaquin Valley and federal agencies aimed at moving toward development of additional San Joaquin River water storage became reality this morning during a signing ceremony overlooking Millerton Lake and Friant Dam northeast of Fresno.  Representatives of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate and complete feasibility studies of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir projectTulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley, Authority President, and Reclamation Deputy Director of the Mid-Pacific Region Federico Barajas signed the MOU.  The partnership will allow communities and organizations throughout the San Joaquin Valley to participate in completing the studies of a new dam and reservoir on the San Joaquin River upstream of Friant Dam.  The project would permit capture and storage of high flows in above-average water years and high flow events. Existing Millerton Lake’s comparatively small capacity of 520,500 acre-feet is frequently exceeded by inflows from the river’s Sierra Nevada watershed.   “I’m pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation and the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority,” said Deputy Director Barajas.   The proposed project’s site, several miles upstream from Friant Dam, was the originally proposed location for a Millerton area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs. The proposed site is within the upper reaches of Millerton Lake. If authorized by Congress and jointly funded, the facilities would be part of the Federal Central Valley Project. As conceived, the new reservoir would create approximately 1,200,000 acre-feet of additional water storage to supplement Millerton Lake’s current capacity. “This project would permit us to store more of the high flows now being lost to flood releases when Millerton storage runs out of room,” Worthley said. “Being able to capture and hold high flows until there is conveyance and percolation capacity available for moving the water to distant aquifer recharge and banking facilities is critical for improving the valley’s groundwater management.” Speaking at the press conference, the Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom stated “This has been a long time coming.  I brought my shovel and concrete boots, let’s get to work!  The Assembly members here today and agriculture worked hard to get the Water Bond passed, so let’s make this happen!”