With the Governor declaring a limited Drought Emergency this past week, we all will now focus on water supplies, management and forecasts. I spent two days this past weekend driving the floor of the Folsom Dam taking photos and video of the eerie results of releasing most of the water from the dam over the past 7 months. The release, which is supposedly needed to push salt water encroaching on the Delta and placing water flows to Central and Southern California in danger has been dramatic.

Folsom Dam was approved by the Federal Government in 1952, and was completed in 1955, officially opening in 1956. The purpose for the dam was multi-purpose…generating electricity and supplying precious water into the California Viaducts feeding hungry farmland and people in Central and Southern California. The dam, fed by both the North and South forks of the American River, can hold over one million cubic yards of water within its 75 mile shoreline and runs from about 300 feet above sea level upward 340 feet. The power house at the dam has three generating plants that can push 198.7 megawatts of electricity down high tension power lines to Sacramento and South. Over 500 thousand people could be affected by the dam if there was a flood or breakage which prompted the Federal Homeland Security Agency after 911 in 2001 to close the road that was atop the dam connecting Placer and El Dorado Counties. A new road has been constructed below the dam and has restored the traffic flow after a few years of jams on other roads.

The Water levels have gone from 38% full in February of 2012, up to a high of 74% full May of 2013 down to 18% full December 2013 to yesterday at 17%. Obviously the out flow of water to the input has also been dramatic. In the 7 months from 5/13 through 12/13 input water flowed at 4,429 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) and was changed to 371 CFS inout to 2,538 CFS outflow. This technically drained the dam to a dangerously low point and may starve the syphons that feed water systems to several thousand water customers and homes in Easter Sacramento County and Western Placer and El Dorado Counties.

I believe the area citizens deserve some questions answered:

Who at the Bureau of Reclamation makes these through flow decisions?
Is there a committee of engineers and climate scientists in on the decision process?
Are Mayors, Supervisors, Water District Boards involved in the process?
Are there any members of the public involved in the process?
Is the Press invited to the decision meetings?
Are there hearings and oversight by State and Federal Governments
Are there impact hearings on these decisions?
What are the financial impacts from these decisions?
Are there financial benefits because of these decisions?

Lets all start asking questions of our political and government representatives and maybe a little light on the subject will be revealing, and cause some honest review of the process, and hopefully prevent future disasters like the one that appears to happening now.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

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