“Banner Day” For Temperance Flat – Protesters Suggest Desalination Instead

FRESNO (KMJ) — The Temperance Flat project has taken a big step toward becoming a reality. A formal request to ask for $1.3 billion of state funding is now signed and awaiting consideration by the California Water Commission.

The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority completed the application Monday morning, bringing the 1.3 million acre feet storage area ever closer to construction. The total estimated cost is $3 billion, with the remaining $1.7 billion to come from both local and federal sources.

“Temperance Flat is an absolute must for the viability of farms throughout the Central Valley,” explains the Fresno County Farm Bureau’s Ryan Jacobson.

“The lack of a reliable water supply over the past decade has cost this region billions of dollars in agricultural production, economic activity and jobs.  This project will benefit all Californians and Americans who depend on a domestic food supply while ensuring water solutions to our local communities.”

The President of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority’s governing board Steve Worthley signed the paper to officially ask Sacramento for the money.

“It’s a banner day today. Completing and filing this application and continuing to move Temperance Flat forward is the primary reason this organization was formed and has been working so hard.”

But a crowd had gathered outside to voice their disapproval of the project.

“I’m here to protest Temperance Flat dam, specifically for the waste of our taxpayer’s dollars” reveals local resident and environmental geologist Shannon Lodge.

She still wants the requested $3 billion to be used for water-related goals, but taking efforts in a different direction instead.

“We need to continue our conservation. The municipalities were able to conserve a lot during the last drought years so that was huge to our water supply, and we need to come up with some new technologies.

“We’re starting to do more desalination but why haven’t we really pursued that to the point where it’s affordable?”

If the application for funds to build the Temperance Flat project is successful, it’s expected to be complete by 2025.

Hear the report from KMJ’s Dominic McAndrew as it aired: