Sites Reservoir has taken a big step toward becoming a reality with the introduction of a bill in the U.S. Congress to authorize its construction, with the Sacramento Valley-based Sites Joint Powers Authority taking a critical local role in the reservoir's development.
Reps. Doug LaMalfa and John Garamendi on Wednesday announced the introduction of the bipartisan Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014 to speed the development of Sites, which both the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources have studied for more than a decade.
"It's great to see momentum building for one of the best, most viable new water storage projects in Northern California," said Assemblyman Brian Dahle. "I understand any engineering project of this size will take years to vet, design and develop, but it's past time Sites moved from an idea we study to a reservoir we intend to build."
Sites Reservoir, in the Coast Range west of Maxwell, will hold 1.9 million acre-feet of water diverted from the Sacramento River primarily through existing irrigation systems. It requires no new dam on the main stem of the river. It will reliably supply more than 400,000 acre-feet per year of new water, and combined operations with Lake Shasta will allow North State water managers to better control flows to meet the competing needs of irrigation, flood control, fisheries, wildlife refuges, and water quality in the Delta.
"Congressional authorization is just one step on a long road," Assemblyman Dahle said. "Paying for the reservoir and its many benefits will require a partnership among the state and federal governments and private interests. I remain committed to providing real money for storage in a state water bond. I strongly support all the efforts in the California Legislature, including a bond proposal by Assemblyman Dan Logue, that put new storage first."