The East Bay Utilities Water Supply Project
While it is apparent that there may be some opposition to the plans of the East Bay Utilities District. California, in forming a large reservoir for water supply and irrigation by damming the Arroyo Seco. James H. Boyer, one of the directors, after an extended visit to the sections interested. believes that all this will disappear when the full benefits to the residents are thoroughly explained. The excursion of the directors was taken to confer with the farmers and other business interests of Amador county, and to hear their complaints, if any, regarding the East Bay Cities’ plan to divert Mokelumne water.
“We found the people very reasonable and intensely interested in our plans,” said Mr. Boyer. “Their own ideas on the matter have hardly crystalized. They want to see their interests protected, and when that is done I think it will be found that there will be very little opposition to the construction of the Lanch Plana dam or the one at Arroyo Seco. In going to lone we were following out the established policy of keeping in touch with the valley and mountain interests, and seeking the co-operation of our back country people in whatever we undertake.
“Should the East Bay Municipal Utility District purchase the lands in the Jackson and lone valleys, as said lands are now subject to taxation, they would thereafter be assessed and taxed to the same extent as though they were privately owned. This very question has been recently determined by the Supreme Court. In fact, the employment of such lands as a reservoir site would unquestionably greatly enhance their value and increase the assessment thereon; and if such dam should be constructed by the utility district, it is possible that the latter would pay half the taxes of Amador county. It is only the improvements placed on the property by the utility district, such as the dam, pipe lines and the water in the reservoir that would be exempt from taxation.
“While considering the advisability of requesting the East Bay Municipal Utility District to desist from any attempt to construct such a reservoir, might it not be well for the good citizens of Amador county to weigh carefully the benefits to be derived from such an improvement lest, ‘like the base Judean, they throw away a prize richer than all their tribe.’
“Any land taken by the utility district would be paid for in cash at a price doubtless greatly in excess of what it could be sold for at private sale. The proposed dam would cost in excess of $3,000,000, and more than half of that sum would be expended as wages in the immediate vicinity of lone, and would find its way into the pockets of the merchants and citizens of your county. The reservoir would constitute the most attractive lake in Central California, and would he the Mecca of more than a half million visitors every year, all of whom would spend money in lone and Amador county. The scores of wooded knolls surrounding the lake would be fascinating sites for country bungalows and would command a price of from $500 to $1,500 per acre. This has been demonstrated at Clear Lake, Tahoe and many other of our popular lake resorts.
“The stocking of the lake with trout, the presence thereon of numerous pleasure boats, and the construction of many summer homes upon the borders of the lake would convert Amador county into the playground of Central California. That it is far easier to extract gold from the pockets of tourists and pleasure seekers than it is to dig it out of the ground has been demonstrated by the phenomenal success of the cities in the southern section of the state.
“Amador county’s mines are almost exhausted, her agricultural interests are of minor importance, but with the construction of this proposed scenic reservoir her tourist attractions will be of immeasurable value. Will her people voluntarily decline a gift that Los Angeles would pay millions to acquire?”