LaMalfa & Garamendi Introduce Legislation to Build Sites Reservoir, Store Water for Millions of Californians

LaMalfa & Garamendi Introduce Legislation to Build Sites Reservoir, Store Water for Millions of Californians

Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi discuss Sites Reservoir at a forum sponsored by the Association of California Water Agencies (Photo Credit: ACWA).

Washington, DC – Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-03) today announced the introduction of HR 1060, which will accelerate the completion of a feasibility study of Sites Reservoir and authorize the project should it be found feasible. Located in Colusa and Glenn counties, Sites Reservoir is a proposed off-stream reservoir that would store as much as 1.8 million acre feet of water for cities, agriculture and the environment.

“Californians have spoken strongly in support of investing in new surface storage, with over two-thirds voting to invest in projects like Sites Reservoir,” said Rep. LaMalfa (CA-01). “Sites provides more storage per dollar invested than any other proposed project, ensuring that California has water available for cities, farms and the environment during future droughts. It’s time to fulfill the promises made to voters, move forward on Sites, and build the infrastructure that will allow our state’s economy to continue growing for generations to come.”

“California is famous for bouncing back from adversity and emerging stronger. Sites Reservoir will play a key role in making our state drought resilient by expanding our water reserves. The Sites project would help meet the water needs of our communities, farms, and environment. It has galvanized bipartisan support across California. The water bond, which provides significant funding for storage, was passed by an overwhelming majority of California voters. Let’s continue this momentum, pass this bill, and start building California’s water future,” said Congressman Garamendi (D-CA-03).

David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association, urged support for the measure, stating, “This bi-partisan effort promoting progressive water management is a step forward for California. The dry years in California have shown the importance of surface storage for all beneficial purposes--water needed for cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds and recreation. An off-stream regulating reservoir on the west-side of the Sacramento Valley (Sites) is critical for all these beneficial purposes in the Sacramento Valley, as well as providing state-wide water system operational improvements.”

Fritz Durst, Chairman of the Sites Joint Powers Authority (Sites JPA), supported the Congressmen’s action, stating, “Once again, our representatives, Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi, have exercised leadership by advancing this legislation and project. Sites Reservoir will improve statewide water reliability so desperately needed in drought years to protect and enhance the lifeblood of our economy, while also providing the necessary water to conserve our rich wildlife and natural resources."

Sites JPA Vice Chair Leigh McDaniel highlighted the importance of expeditious Congressional consideration of this measure, saying, “With the eyes of the country focused on California's historic drought, it is vital that we work jointly to seize this opportunity to develop the infrastructure needed to store additional water at Sites Reservoir and beyond. Doing so will go a long way toward enhancing operational efficiency of the Central Valley Project and serve to mitigate the impacts of similar droughts going forward.”

The California Department of Water Resources recently reported that Sites Reservoir would generate an additional 900,000 acre feet of water during droughts, enough water to supply over seven million Californians for an entire year.

The California Alliance for Jobs has also examined Sites Reservoir and released a video detailing the project’s benefits to cities, farms and the environment. As an off-stream reservoir, Sites has the ability to recapture water released upstream, allowing improved conditions for salmon and reuse of water for urban and agriculture use.

The Northern California Water Agency produced an infographic on Sites Reservoir.

The full text of the legislation is linked here.