CALIFORNIA
'Flood fighting is in our DNA': To live by the Feather River is to know its power and danger

Jerry Brown

Does California really need more dams? We're running out of places to put them

Does California really need more dams? We're running out of places to put them

You hear this every time there’s a drought or deluge in California: “Why haven’t they built more dams?” Truth is, they’ve built a bunch. And they’re about done with it.

Tally them up. There are more than 1,400 dams in the state. At least 1,000 are major and 55 can hold 100,000 acre-feet or more of water.

One acre-foot is enough to supply two average households for a year.

There are 36 reservoirs that can contain at least 200,000 acre-feet. Eleven can hold 1 million or more.

The biggest is Shasta on the Sacramento River at 4.5 million acre-feet. Then comes Oroville with its broken spillways on the Feather River at 3.5 million.

The largest reservoir in Southern...

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