In response to your editorial "No Call for High Dam," May 10:
Your editorial is dead wrong. My SB 1712 dealing with construction for a multipurpose Auburn Dam is a piece of a puzzle. The puzzle is how do we protect existing water rights in the Central Valley, the Bay Area and Southern California, and at the same time, provide protection for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. There is no easy answer. Auburn Dam provides the source of the additional water supply element of the puzzle.
Implying there is an alternative to Auburn Dam, you state "But an already authorized storage reservoir south of the delta would do the same thing by capturing excess flows during the heavy winter and spring runoff season, and without inundating 48 miles of free running river." You then cite an environmental critic of the Auburn Dam proposal.
I presume you are talking about the Los Banos Grandes Project--the proposed addition to the State Water Project. Auburn Dam would be an environmental reservoir, not a feature of the State Water Project, operated for water quality, not water supply. The state must secure a full operating permit for the State Pumping Plant at Tracy and construct some type of delta facility, or Los Banos Grandes Reservoir does not work effectively.
A delta facility was authorized 30 years ago. Today, because of rejection of the Peripheral Canal, we are back to square one. Please ask our environmental friend if he would support the state either receiving a full operating permit at the State Pumping Plant at Tracy or construction of a through-delta facility. He has not done so in the past, and without these permits and facilities in place, the Los Banos Grandes Reservoir is nothing but a dream.
SEN. RUBEN S. AYALA
Chairman, State Senate Agriculture
and Water Resources Committee