Auburn Dam Permits Revoked By Water Board

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A state board has revoked federal water claims that were critical to building the long-stalled project. Tuesday's unanimous vote by the State Water Resources Control Board comes more than four decades after Congress authorized the dam to control flooding along the American River.

Lynnette Wirth is a spokeswoman with the US Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento. 

“Our reaction to the ruling, it was a keen disappointment but we are awaiting the final order and then we’ll see. It looks like it’s pretty much a closed door.” 

She says the bureau could apply for new permits…but Congress would first need to reauthorize the project. 

The state originally granted water rights to the bureau so it could fill the future reservoir…but did so with conditions. The bureau had to complete the dam by December 1975 and start using the water 25 years later. But work on the project stopped after an earthquake led to the discovery of a fault beneath the site, in the Sierra foothills about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento.