From Friends of the River
Surprised? We certainly face major challenges like global warming and increased demand. So some people are rushing to build dams -- expensive 19th century solutions to 21st century problems.
We don’t need solutions that are expensive, destructive, and useless.
A little common sense shows us that the real answers to our problems are easy, efficient, and smart.
Why Dams Don't Work
Dams today are the most expensive option for water, costing billions of dollars each to build and maintain. Taxpayers could end up paying a bill that’s almost 50 times -- yes, 50 times! -- the cost of smarter solutions.
California already has lost 90% of our river environment. We have lost 95% of our salmon and steelhead habitat. Our commercial fisheries and the communities they once supported are barely hanging on as it is.
California already has 1400 dams on our rivers. As a practical matter, there is very little water to collect behind new dams anymore. According to the state, dams are even less reliable than cloud seeding!
Why Common Sense Does Work
1. Saving water = easy.
Conservation really does work. California has cut its per capita water use by 50% over the past 40 years, even as the state has boomed. Simply using the tools we already have like new appliances and drip irrigation we can easily cut our water use another 20% and still support a growing population and even bigger economy.
2. Recycling water = efficient.
Why spray clean, clear drinking water on our golf courses and median strips? We can use the rainwater than runs into our storm drains and recycle our wastewater. Through reclamation and recycling we can save enough drinking water each year for 1.5 million households roughly all of Los Angeles.
3. Storing water = smart.
Every year enough water for almost 3 million households one-quarter of all the households in California disappears into thin air behind our existing dams. It’s much smarter to store our water underground, by allowing it to seep into the water table. In fact, we already store enough water underground to fill Hetch Hetchy 15 times over and there’s room for much, much more.
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