The East Side Division and the construction of the New Melones Dam and Powerplant is one of the more controversial chapters in the history of the Central Valley Project. Developing the division brought the need for water and flood control into direct conflict with concerns over damage to cultural resources and the environment. The battle over construction of New Melones Dam was a signal that the end of the era of large dam construction had come. The controversy focused on the loss of a popular stretch of recreational white water, inundation of archeological sites, and flooding of the West`s deepest limestone canyon. Controversy over the project lasted over a decade before the decision to proceed and provide irrigation water, flood control, and power generation.
For more information on the New Melones Unit of the Central Valley Project, visit the project web site.