“Dam”! The new Union columnist is confused — this time about the Auburn and Folsom dams

This week new The Union weekly columnist George Boardman’s “expert” and winded commentary of water policy on his blog contains this factual blunder, among others:

“Conservationists throw cold water on such ideas, having fought the proposed Folsom Dam to a standstill and promoting the removal of several dams including Hetch Hetchy. Many feel Chinook salmon and Delta smelt take priority over the water needs of a state with a population of 38 million that’s heading for 50 million.”

Huh? The last I checked the Folsom dam is standing (albeit it with a low water flow), while the Auburn dam is still proposed. Dam! Slow down fellow. Let’s hope his columns are fact checked before running in The Union.

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Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

5 thoughts on ““Dam”! The new Union columnist is confused — this time about the Auburn and Folsom dams”

  1. Funny, he corrected his blog without posting the message I posted there early this morning. Since he has not posted it I will do so here:

    “Just an couple of observations George.

    First, the $11 billion water bond currently scheduled to be on the November ballot does not include money to build the twin tunnels proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The twin tunnels are proposed to be paid for in the BDCP by the ratepayers who use the water. (Just for the record, I am at this point opposed to implementation of the BDCP). All of the alternative Water Bond proposals moving in the California legislature this year (including the two you did not mention, SB 848-Wolk & AB 1331-Rendon) propose that the twin tunnels be paid for by ratepayers.

    Second, the statement “having fought the proposed Folsom Dam to a standstill” is inaccurate. The Folsom Dam was built starting in 1948 and opened in 1956. It was the Auburn Dam that was never built, partly due to environmental opposition.

    Finally, on an editorial note, the largest reservoir in California is the seasonal snowpack and mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade, delivering approximately 17-25 million acre feet of water on an average year and delivering that water into the existing water system throughout the year. Even in drought years the rivers, meadows, wetlands and fractured aquifers of the Sierra/Cascade continue to deliver water throughout the year. Much of the groundwater recharge in the central valley comes from water filtering in from the Sierra, oftentimes taking five or more years to make it into the aquifers. On an average year California has more than 20 million acre feet of existing built storage that is not used. So we may invest in water storage, but the real infrastructure that actually delivers new water year after year, is the forested and wet meadow landscape itself. If we don’t invest in that all the new storage in the world won’t solve our long term problem.

    (By the way, in an ironic twist, I am right with Todd on protecting area of origin rights, and compensating upstream systems for water delivery, in my case through a state-wide public goods charge on water that could be used on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis to invest in water supply, quality, conservation and conjunctive use, without the need for bonded indebtedness).”

  2. From what I hear, there’s going to be a “sit down” with The Union and some people in town who have a real problem with George’s lack of fact checking.

  3. Hum? Conservatives continue to live up to their pledge to re-write history, insist on lying, and total dis-respect for the truth. They know it works because most people don’t think and are easily scared. Therefore they aren’t that concerned about facts. In a drought the time is ripe to re-write history and reinforce old fears and scapegoats.

    Well, doesn’t Boardman mean the Auburn/Folsom Dam? Yes, it appears that fact checking isn’t worthy of his time and purpose.

    It is my understanding the McClintock and LaMalfa seek to get Northern CA water to Southern CA. Boardman included.

    Will someone tell me why I should spend my money on a subscription to The Union?

  4. Everyone makes mistakes. The test is whether or not a person has the character to admit it, and it is an important test.

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