The Seattle Times has an an article about the Booming growth raises idea of Dams. The focus on this article are the water issues, but cheap hydroelectric power is there as well.
SPOKANE — The era of massive dam construction in the West — which tamed rivers, swallowed towns and created irrigated agriculture, cheap hydropower and persistent environmental problems — effectively ended in 1966 with the completion of Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona.
But a booming population and growing fears about climate change have governments once again studying dams, this time to create huge reservoirs to capture more winter rain and spring snowmelt for use in dry summer months.
New dams are being studied in Washington, California, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and other states, even as dams are being torn down across the country over environmental concerns — worries that will likely pose big obstacles to new dams.
"The West and the Northwest are increasing in population growth like never before," said John Redding, regional spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Boise. "How do you quench the thirst of the hungry masses?"
The state gov'ts know that water shortages are coming unless they come up ways to store more water as snowpacks are in jeopardy.
Washington's water crisis is centered on the Columbia River basin and the adjacent Yakima River Basin — which produce a bounty of crops, including apples, cherries, hops for beer and wine grapes.
Groundwater wells in the region are being emptied to sustain millions of acres of irrigated agriculture, prompting ongoing studies of new dams.