Mr. Wagner’s letter (Shot in the Foot – January 31, 2013) is inaccurate from the first word to the last. Here are the facts:
The Corps of Engineers administers the dam safety program per the Water Resource Development Act of 1986 which was renewed in 1996, 2002 and again in 2006. Lower Tule River Irrigation District has no role in the process other than to observe and ask questions.
Lower Tule River ID never took a position that the dam was unsafe to further our own interests. To do so would be ludicrous, and asserting otherwise suggests Mr. Wagner has zero understanding of how the farming world operates below Springville.
Lower Tule River ID is an irrigation district organized under the California Water Code. We have no shareholders, have never paid a dividend and charge the landowners for the services provided and water delivered.
The entirety of the dam was inspected by the Corps and their report is due to be released in 2013. There have been no “about faces” and no “safe” or “unsafe” studies.
The lake levels have been restricted since 2006 costing the local economy millions in lost irrigation and recreation benefits. Remind me again how the dam safety scam Mr. Wagner refers to was in our best interest?
Through the work of the Corps, along with the diligence of the county of Tulare, the local irrigation districts and the city of Porterville, we appear to be on the verge of having the restriction lifted and dam declared conditionally safe.
I only wish we had the influence to make that happen sooner.
General Manager – Lower Tule River Irrigation District