The Bureau of Reclamation and Sites Project Authority have finalized plans for the Sites Reservoir project. It would become the second-largest off-stream reservoir in the country. The project is expected to bolster Northern California’s water storage capacity by as much as 15 percent. The proposed reservoir, located 81 miles northwest of Sacramento, aims to store water diverted from the Sacramento River, releasing it during drier periods. Originally planned for 1.9 million acre-feet, it was adjusted to 1.5 million acre-feet after economic review.
“Sites Reservoir is a new way of managing water that will adapt to our changing climate and provide a more reliable water supply for California’s communities, farms, and environment,” Chair of the Sites Project Authority, Fritz Durst said in a press release. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Bureau of Reclamation, which exemplifies the spirit of collaboration that’s been a hallmark of Sites Reservoir.”
Significant financial support has been secured with a total of $233.7 million in federal contributions having been made. Investments include $60 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $173.7 million from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The project is a response to regional water storage issues and the first major water storage initiative in over a decade.
Various stakeholders emphasize the project’s importance in addressing water scarcity. The reservoir’s construction is expected to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and support the agricultural sector. The completion of Sites Reservoir is projected to be a critical aspect of California’s water management strategy.
“Sites Reservoir promises to help us adjust to intensifying floods and droughts by storing water in big, wet winters like we just had for use during the dry years that we know will return,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “The environmental review that has just been completed for the project will guide how this project can operate in alignment with existing water and environmental management, as well as other water infrastructure. We have no time to waste to put these climate solutions into place.”
Ag News Director / AgNet West