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More information on the Shasta Dam raise

What does the Bureau of Reclamation say?

The Bureau says raising Shasta Dam would increase a reliable supply of water and retain more cold water for salmon.

What do the facts say?

The dam raise will produce a fairly small amount of expensive water that will go to wasteful agricultural practices in the Central Valley . The enlarged reservoir would only reliably provide less than 146,000 acre feet of water annually. In comparison, if farmers producing low-value alfalfa in California were to conserve a mere five percent of the water they consume, nearly one million acre feet of water would be saved….. Meanwhile, the Bureau is asking taxpayers to spend almost $500 million on the Shasta Dam raise project!

The only way to help fish on the rivers is use the existing cold water behind the dam for salmon runs, not for subsidized water contracts.

The Bureau cannot create more water, only nature can regulate how much flows from Sierra snowmelt into the reservoir behind Shasta Dam. When the existing reservoir only completely fills three out of 20 years, why do we need more storage space

Hidden costs of water development

While the Winnemem Wintu Tribe fights for their survival, the Bureau of Reclamation has been busy signing federal contracts with large agricultural corporations to deliver amounts of water that the state CANNOT deliver – unless there are more storage projects like the Shasta Dam enlargement.

Do not be fooled - the Bureau of Reclamation is not fulfilling the needs of residents in California , they are CREATING a need for water deliveries to a few large, wealthy agribusinesses. These contracts last anywhere from 25 – 50 years.

A recent report by the Environmental Working Group found that Californian taxpayers spend about $416 million dollars subsidizing water for agriculture through the Central Valley Project, which the Shasta Dam is part of. Who recieves this gift? Only the top 10 percent of agricultural corporations have control of 67 percent of all the water flowing through the Central Valley Project.

Water from the dam raise would cost more than $220 per acre foot (one acre foot is 325,850 gallons of water), which is well beyond the rate affordable to most farmers. But with federal contracts in place, the recipients will be able to sell the water rates to the biggest buyers in water these days – developers in the Central Valley and suburban Los Angeles.

These are the hidden costs of raising the Shasta Dam – the loss of an entire people, the Winnemem Wintu, and locking California into another 25 years of unsustainable water management.

Read EJCW's EIR Comment letter on the Dam raise.

Read Friends of the River's factsheet on the Shasta Dam raise.

Read Cal Trout's position on the Shasta Dam raise

California Report covers the controversy over the Shasta Dam raise, 6/15/06. Guests include: Caleen Sisk-Franco, chairwoman of the Winnemum Wintu tribe; Jeff McCracken, public affairs director for the Mid-Pacific Region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Keith Coolidge, deputy director of communications for the California Bay Delta Authority; Toby McLeod, filmmaker, environmental activist, produced and directed "In the Light of Reverence," a film detailing the loss of Indian lands.

http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R503040900

 

The US Bureau of Reclamation proposal is the latest in a long line of attacks on the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. The Bureau says raising Shasta Dam would increase a reliable supply of water and retain more cold water for salmon.

At 602 feet high and storing 4.5 million acre feet of water, the Shasta Dam and Reservoir is already the eighth highest dam in the U.S. and the largest reservoir in California. But the Bureau wants to raise the dam by up to 18.5 feet and increase it reservoir size by up to 22%!

Does taking water out of rivers to help fish really make sense? In fact, the Bureau of Reclamation is asking taxpayers to pay for their mistakes. The reason there is not enough cold water for salmon downstream is because the Bureau keeps selling the cold water to federal agribusiness contractors.

The nearly 19 foot raise would cost more than $483 million, but this estimate does not include interest, environmental mitigation costs, annual operating costs, or cost overruns common to virtually all Bureau projects.

The reservoir enlargement will drown several miles of the upper Sacramento, McCloud, and Pit Rivers, require the relocation or modification or more than 600 structures. It would drown miles of trout habitat.

The dam raise actually VIOLATES state law by flooding sections of the McCloud River that are protected under California’s Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

The only way to help fish on the rivers is use the existing cold water behind the dam for salmon runs, not for subsidized water contracts. The Bureau cannot create more water, only nature can regulate how much flows from Sierra snowmelt into the reservoir behind Shasta Dam.

Broken Promises

When the dam was built in 1945, the Central Valley Indian Lands Acquisition Act was signed. The Bureau of Reclamation negotiated with the Winnemem Wintu, but never listed them as a federally recognized tribe. This has prevented the Tribe from being fully incorporated into the dam raise investigation. Promises made to create a tribal cemetery held in trust and to replace the lands lost were never fulfilled.

While the Winnemem Wintu Tribe fights for their survival, the Bureau of Reclamation has been busy signing federal contracts with large agricultural corporations to deliver amounts of water that the state CANNOT deliver – unless there are more storage projects like the Shasta Dam enlargement.

The dam raise will produce a fairly small amount of expensive water that will go to wasteful agricultural practices in the Central Valley. The enlarged reservoir would only reliably provide less than 146,000 acre feet of water annually. In comparison, if farmers producing low-value alfalfa in California were to conserve a mere five percent of the water they consume, nearly one million acre feet of water would be saved.

Water from the dam raise would cost more than $220 per acre foot (one acre foot is 325,850 gallons of water), which is well beyond the rate affordable to most farmers. But with federal contracts in place, the recipients will be able to sell the water rates to the biggest buyers in water these days – developers in the Central Valley and suburban Los Angeles. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for water contractors to make millions on selling water rights?

A recent report by the Environmental Working Group found that Californian taxpayers spend about $416 million dollars subsidizing water for agriculture through the Central Valley Project, which the Shasta Dam is part of. And who recieves this gift? The mere top 10 percent of agricultural corporations control 67 percent of all the water flowing through the Central Valley Project.

These are the hidden costs of raising the Shasta Dam – the loss of entire people, the Winnemem Wintu, and locking California into another 25 years of unsustainable water management.