Phil Isenberg, head of California’s Delta Stewardship Council, gets to the heart of the matter in the discussion of the possibility that California needs more water storage capability:
The council agrees with Assemblyman Logue that water storage is a critical component of any solution to meet the state’s water supply and environmental needs. Over the past several years, almost $20 million has been spent to plan new or expanded reservoirs in the Central Valley. The studies show these projects will be expensive — for example, more than $1 billion to enlarge Shasta Dam. Unfortunately, no water customers who would benefit from new dams have yet stepped forward to share these projects’ costs. (emphasis added)
This gets to the heart of an issue I’ve been thinking about: the possibility that we’ve really seen the last of the West’s great concrete, that we won’t see more dams and conveyances simply because the next ones would be far more expensive than the ones we’ve already built (the low-hanging fruit having been plucked) and the traditional subsidizers, state and federal taxpayers, are tapped out.