CALIFORNIA IS CONSIDERING building a US$1.6B reservoir to store 2.3B m3 of water at the foot of the Coast range of mountains – more than twice the capacity of the Metropolitan Water District’s new Diamond Valley lake near Hemet in Riverside County, US.

The reservoir is among a number of proposed water storage projects that have won political backing recently. The diverse political support for dams would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. A long-standing stalemate over new dams has kept any new reservoirs from being built for three decades. However, political fallout from the state’s energy crisis is making Californians view such projects favourably.

Other water projects under consideration include enlarging existing dams at Lake Shasta near Redding, Millerton lake on the San Joaquin river near Fresno, and the Los Vaqueros reservoir near Livermore.