It’s a sink or swim moment for the future of a dam that would triple the Central Valley’s water storage capacity.

This week the California Water Commission will decide if Temperance Flat Dam is still in the running to receive critical funding to build the $3 billion project.

Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority said he is glad the majority of the gubernatorial candidates supported the dam during Sunday’s debate
because he is going to need the help of the next governor to finish building the dam.

“This is the fight of the decade,” said Santoyo.

Santoyo said a billion dollars was requested from the state to help fund Temperance Flat Dam, and he hopes to get no less than $500 million.

Santoyo said in order to get that money they have to convince the California Water Commission Board that it’s worth the investment.

“And we have to win that day in order for this project to move forward. It’s critical,” said Santoyo.

After several years of drought, water has become a critical issue across the state.

That’s why gubernatorial candidates Antonio Villaraigosa, Travis Allen, and John Cox all say they support Temperance Flat.

Santoyo said it’s crucial the the next governor supports the project, because the success of it depends on a three-way funding source amongst the federal government, private investors and the state.

“This is the one project that will make a difference for our valley in order to meet the Groundwater Sustainability Act that will eventually affect us,” said Santoyo.

The hearing is Wednesday afternoon in Sacramento.