The proposed raising of Shasta Dam represents just more of the same shenanigans in California’s long water history. As with most dam projects, it will cause more harm than whatever positives might accrue from such an action. California already has 1,300 (named) dams. More water storage projects will not solve the basic fact that the state’s finite amount of water is incapable of meeting all of the demands. This deficit has been created primarily by the transformation of a semi-arid area— the Central Valley — by an infusion of water from northern California.
For all of his accomplishments, when it comes to water issues, Gov. Jerry Brown is leaving Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom with a mess. What’s needed is a paradigm shift — a change in the conversation that doesn’t pit Northern California vs. Southern California and environmentalists against farmers and urban dwellers. Consider: What if Newsom borrowed a page from Brown’s climate change playbook, which called for a big move away from coal and oil in favor of renewable and green energy?