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Don't build new dams. Dredge the silt out of existing reservoirs instead.

Don't build new dams. Dredge the silt out of existing reservoirs instead.
A small flow of water goes down Oroville Dam's crippled spillway on Feb. 28 in Oroville, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: In an otherwise excellent review of water issues, George Skelton says we should get "one or two big dams built that everyone has been yakking about for years." We have way too many dams. ("Will California spend more on water projects? 'It all depends on how thirsty the governor is,' De León says," March 13)

Former state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) had a better idea: Remove the accumulated silt behind our existing dams to free up more space for water storage. This is much cheaper to do than building new dams, and it saves arable land and beautiful canyons.

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Politician get more publicity at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for building a new dam. How many ceremonies have there been for dredging a harbor or waterway? Still, it would be a far better way to spend our money.

Emil Lawton, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Skelton suggests Gov. Jerry Brown won't open the spigot for water projects because of his fiscal conservatism — "except for the extravagant bullet train obsession."

My dictionary defines obsession as "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling that is extremely or unreasonably high in price."

Far from being unreasonably high in price, the bullet train will save billions of dollars by providing an alternative to the extravagant obsession that now is the only means for most people to get around — the automobile.

More than 6.6 million people voted for the bullet train in 2008. The system will enable a new freedom of mobility at higher speed and lower costs than is possible on today's high-cost and traffic-choked roadways. The project can achieve this without relying on the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies needed to expand or even maintain today's deteriorating roadway and automobile infrastructure.

Albert Perdon, Fallbrook

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