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New California Dam Proposed to Combat Climate Change Concerns

Nevada Irrigation District, which serves two California counties, wants to build a new reservoir on the Bear River to capture rainfall, amid concerns that climate change is shrinking Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Americans have had one primary reason for building dams over the past century: capturing water for growth, whether on farms or in cities.

Now a new dam proposed on California’s Bear River offers another reason: adapting to climate change.

The Centennial Dam project, proposed by the Nevada Irrigation District, is intended to capture rainfall at lower elevations to make up for declining snowpack at higher elevations. It would be built at an elevation of about 2,000 feet between two existing reservoirs on the Bear River – Rollins and Combie – in a region of the Sierra Nevada where winter rainfall can be prolific but snowfall is light.

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