Additional $205 Million in Funding for Sites Reservoir

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Funding, Water

Congress has given the green light for a significant boost to the Sites Reservoir Project, based on a recommendation from the Bureau of Reclamation. A total of $205.6 million in federal funds is being allocated. The money comes from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which helps enhance water systems across the country. It marks the largest single award in the history of the WIIN Act for a storage project.

Sites Reservoir

“With the support of the Biden-Harris administration, Reclamation continues to make historic investments in Western water infrastructure projects like Sites Reservoir,” Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said in a press release. “This project reaffirms Reclamation’s partnerships with the State of California and the Sites Project Authority, as well as our ongoing commitment to increase drought resiliency in California and across the West.”

The Sites Reservoir aims to bolster water supplies across California while also supporting native wildlife during droughts. This project will add 1.5 million acre-feet of storage, significantly enhancing the state’s water flexibility and reliability during dry years. Last summer, the project received $30 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, making the total federal contribution to date $439.3 million.

Sites Project Authority Chairman Fritz Durst emphasizes the importance of federal support for the project, to increase overall water reliability statewide. The project has garnered widespread backing from various stakeholders, including cities, counties, and water agencies throughout California. Lawmakers like Senator Alex Padilla and Congressman Doug LaMalfa have also commended the project for its role in ensuring water security in the face of future droughts.

With more than $3 billion in federal financing secured, along with state funds, the Sites Reservoir Project is set to become California’s first major reservoir since 1999. The Sites Project Authority notes that had the reservoir already been functional, it would be at an estimated 80 percent capacity based on 2023 flows and storms in early 2024.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West