The electricity crisis in California is breathing new life into dams and hydro schemes that environmentalists had thought they had put to rest. Two proposals for hydro dams that generated much controversy in the 1980s, the 120MW Dinkey Creek and the Rodgers Crossing projects in the Sierra about 88km northeast of Fresno, are being activated again.

Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) has retained Bechtel Corporation on a US$215,000 contract to update the cost estimate, hydrology and other aspects of the Dinkey Creek project. Bechtel did the original study in the 1980s.

Officials believe Dinkey Creek and other hydro projects could cash in on the power shortage in California.