Sacramento River, seen in Redding, California.

Optimism for Positive Movement with Sites Reservoir Project

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Water

Amidst ongoing drought conditions, development of the Sites Reservoir Project continues to move forward. Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, Mike Wade said it has been a long process to get the project going. The project has continued to gain funding momentum from a variety of sources and appears to be on track to break ground in the coming years.

Sites Reservoir Project

“We’ve been waiting a long time since Prop 1 was passed in 2014. It’s been decades that the Sites Project has been on the books and almost 10 years since funding was approved by voters in California to get moving on new storage projects. But that’s happening,” said Wade. “We’re anxious to see some additional funding go the way of Sites Reservoir. That project we understand will be starting construction in late 2024 with still a projected completion date of about 2030. That’s great news for California.”

A report from the Public Policy Institute of California highlights just how much water could be stored during wet years. Wade explained that the Tracking Where Water Goes in a Changing Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta report notes that up to 800,000 acre-feet of water could be available in very wet years. “There are peak flows that can be captured put into storage, moved to groundwater, and help replenish our groundwater basins,” Wade explained.

The Sites Reservoir Project was initially conceived in the 1950s and has been a constant point of contention between environmentalists and rural communities. However, recent drought periods over the past 10 years have broadened support for the project to include cities, counties, and various water and irrigation districts around the state. “We’re really all in this together so any good news for water supply is good news for everybody. I think working together is the way to accomplish that and get California on the right track for the future for farms, homes, and businesses,” Wade noted.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West