James Coe: The Centennial Dam project for the common good | TheUnion.com

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James Coe: The Centennial Dam project for the common good

Since the drought of 1976, Californians were promised that conservation would be the answer to future water shortages. As seen in the latest drought period, that policy has been ineffective and is a worn out solution going forward.

Conservation only works when there is water available to conserve. For example, last year valley farmers were not able to conserve because they were denied water and their fields went fallow.

Conservation, water recycling, ground water injection, meadow rehabilitation sound good but those projects alone will not protect Nevada County from future water shortages. The first and foremost place to conserve water is high up in the runoff environment. That means in-line river dams must be the first line of defense against water shortages.

The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is proposing a new catchment basin in the Bear River Canyon called the Centennial Dam. This project will not block a "wild river" because the Bear River is already blocked upstream and downstream.

NID's Centennial Project is forward thinking. When complete, the project will provide additional water storage for agricultural needs, protect the environment and ensure that the district can provide for the growing water needs of our community.

James Coe, civil engineer

Grass Valley