Editors Note: This is a response to a letter addressed to Mr. Dennis McCord on Page 7 of the Aug. 27 issue of the Patterson Irrigator.
Dear Mrs. Nunez, I appreciate your well thought out letter and well wishes. I encourage you to stay involved and continue communicating with me and the City Council. I am not opposed to the Del Puerto Reservoir project. It has not published the Final Environmental Impact Report so there is nothing to oppose or support.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was published for comments. The City of Patterson is not an interested party according to the DEIR and our attorneys. As the City, we did submit comments which are important to us to help us determine if this is a positive or negative benefit. Previously, other projects considered a reservoir on Salado creek which directly floods Patterson; that project was studied and shelved.
I agree the Del Puerto Reservoir is a game changer for Patterson. It has the potential to bring many positive benefits to our area and specifically the City of Patterson. The City Staff of Patterson is in discussions with the project partners to quantify some of those project benefits including increased climate resiliency.
Safety and Flood control: We have had 15 flood events in 60 years from this watershed.The reservoir is being built to withstand large earthquake events and built almost 1,000 times stronger than the most recent earthquake more than 100 years ago. If the Interstate system and the California Aqueducts approve the safety of the construction, I believe Patterson is safe.
Water storage and aquifer recharge: Our staff is in discussions to store water during the flood season and release water during times when we can release the water into the aquifer.
Recreational opportunities: I envision the opportunity for at least two additional recreational areas in addition to the existing Frank Raines park. I would like to work towards building a park at the bottom of the saddle dam and a wetlands refuge/park at the west end of the reservoir. Each of these parks need to be designed with Patterson community input. There is an established committee that has met twice but with COVID restrictions has been limited. If the Reservoir is not built, I envision working with the county to purchase the Del Puerto Gateway for use as a park so the public can use the area legally.
Housing values: There is no guarantee what values will do but there are many articles and scholarly papers that state, water amenities raise property values
Jobs: The reservoir will create hundreds of construction jobs and about a dozen permanent positions.
Patterson City Council