|SAVE THE GORGE Video Book|
Imagine for a moment that influential people have proposed building a dam in Yosemite Valley due to persistent drought conditions. Their argument is essentially that farmers do not have enough water, which is causing them to overdraft the groundwater supply. And when farmers do not have enough water, they are forced to lay off their workers, which is causing families in the Valley to suffer.
This is such a compelling argument, on the surface, that everyone sympathizes with the farmers and the poor working families. Soon, Yosemite Valley is brimming with water. From the vista point below the tunnel, people can now view Half Dome and El Capitan reflected in a new reservoir as waterfalls spill into the lake and speedboats pull water skiers around the valley.
Sound far-fetched? What I have described is about to happen to the San Joaquin River Gorge, which is public land near Auberry, CA, about two hours away from Yosemite Valley via Wawona Road. The San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area is a majestic public park that, unfortunately, does not have the same public support as Yosemite.
I have created a video book to show what the public will lose if a dam drowns the gorge, with photographs showing the inundation zone of the proposed land—as well as music and an in-depth discussion of the issue. A few of the main problems:
- No more water rights on the San Joaquin River are available. Water rights on the river have already been overallocated by 861%, which means that the corporations and landowners with the water rights will benefit.
- Eight other dams on the San Joaquin River already divert all of the river’s flows. The vested interests with the water rights can claim any new water that a dam at Temperance Flat might create.
- The public will pay billions of dollars to destroy its own majestic park—without compensation in the form of a new park on the river—for the benefit of a few corporations and landowners.
- Despite over a thousand dams in California, farmers have been over-pumping the groundwater for decades to irrigate unsustainable crops such as almonds, cotton, and rice in a desert. Aquifers are collapsing and land is subsiding all over the Valley.
- Below the dams, many rivers are dead due to water diversions. The San Joaquin River is one of the most endangered rivers in the United States due to existing dams and water diversions.
It is critical now that people who oppose the dam contact the California Water Commission because the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority recently filed an application with the agency for Proposition 1 state water bond funding to pay for Temperance Flat Dam. Even if you don’t buy the video book, please go to https://cwc.ca.gov/Pages/Contact.aspx and submit a comment opposing the dam at Temperance Flat. It will only take a moment to write a short note.
Buy the video book SAVE THE GORGE at Vimeo on Demand.
Other video books by me at Vimeo on Demand: