Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressmen Garamendi and LaMalfa Introduce Water Storage Bill for Sites Reservoir

March 27, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA-03) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01) officially introduced H.R. 4300, the Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014. The bill would authorize construction of Sites Reservoir in Colusa County, California upon completion of the feasibility study. The bill was announced last week at a press conference in Maxwell. Click here to read a summary of the legislation and click here to read the full text. Click here for videos, editorials, and news coverage of the LaMalfa-Garamendi Sites proposal.

“Construction of Sites Reservoir would bring California one major step closer to a drought-proof water system. It has support across the aisle and across the state. I will continue to work with Doug and local stakeholders to move this project across the finish line,” said Congressman Garamendi, a former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior.

“We know that Sites Reservoir is needed to allow our California’s economy to continue to grow, to ensure that our cities have a secure water supply and to keep our agricultural sector strong. This project’s merits are recognized by lawmakers of both parties, water suppliers, cities, agriculture and environmental groups, and our drought would not be as dire had it already been built,” said Congressman LaMalfa.

The bill sets a deadline for the completion of the feasibility study and if deemed feasible, authorizes construction of the storage reservoir.  The bill also creates a process by which a non-federal sponsor could develop the project.  Once completed, Sites Reservoir would provide 1.9 million acre feet of water storage capacity for California and would help residents prepare for droughts like the one currently hurting the state.

Congressman LaMalfa is the lead sponsor and Congressman Garamendi is the original co-sponsor of the legislation. The Congressmen jointly developed the bill with local stakeholders, primarily the Sites Joint Powers Authority (JPA), a regional consortium of local water agencies and counties who joined together in 2010 to advocate for the project.

The project promotes state goals of regional self-sufficiency in water use. Storage is a key component of Congressman Garamendi’s "Water Plan for All of California," which can be read at

For continually updated information on H.R. 4300, including bill status and cosponsors, go to

Videos, Editorials, and News Reports on the Sites Reservoir Bill

Chico Enterprise Record [VIDEO]
Press Conference Video

Northern California Water Association [VIDEOS]
Garamendi, LaMalfa, Colusa Rancher, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District

Sacramento’s News 10 ABC [VIDEO]
Calif. Water storage bill to push ‘Sites Reservoir’

Fresno’s KMPH Fox 26 [VIDEO]
New Reservoirs Needed for Growing CA Population

The Porterville Recorder (Based in Tulare County)
Editorial: We call on quick action to approve new reservoir

“California’s drought and water crisis has caused two lawmakers — one a Democrat and the other a Republican — to actually step forward and propose new water storage for the state. It is an action we were not certain we would see, but dire times sometimes bring positive action.”

The Stockton Record
Editorial: Ripples from the past

“The Sites solution is back from the past. It merits study and action.”

Redding Record-Searchlight
Editorial: Sites Reservoir good for North State and California
“The bipartisan bill to push Sites Reservoir toward groundbreaking is a welcome development after decades of talk. California needs the water storage, and Sites is one of the very best alternatives for providing it.”

The Vacaville Reporter
Editorial: Bipartisan Water Plan makes far more sense than Brown’s tunnels

“Garamendi and LaMalfa's call for more storage is absolutely vital to the state's future water health.”

The Marysville Appeal Democrat
Editorial: Area counties, agencies should lend Sites support
“At about twice the capacity of Bullards Bar Reservoir, a Sites Reservoir would be a meaningful advancement for the North State as we face greater and greater demand for a water system that's increasingly overtaxed.”

The Marysville Appeal Democrat
Editorial: Finally, let the lobbying begin

“It's too bad it takes a drought this severe before action is finally taken to get the project moving, but we're happy that it is and that our representatives can put aside partisanship and team up on it — that could make a lot of difference.”

Western Farm Press
Can Sites Reservoir get honest hearing?

“If there’s one good thing that could come out of California’s epic drought it might be evident in the recent bipartisan bill to build a new reservoir in Northern California.”

Woodland Daily Democrat / Associated Press
Congress puts focus on new reservoirs for California
“At the same time, the nation's most populous state, now at 38 million residents, continues to grow beyond the capacity of a water storage and delivery system that was mostly completed in the late 1960s.”

OC Register/Associated Press
Proposed Reservoir gets congressmen’s backing
“Garamendi and LaMalfa said such water-storage projects are crucial for supplying California’s farms and its growing population, now at 38 million people.”

Sacramento Bee/ Fresno Bee
Citing California drought, Garamendi and LaMalfa push Sites Reservoir bill
“Proponents said more storage would benefit a multitude of users that depend on healthy freshwater flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: farmers, urban dwellers and endangered Delta fish. California would have another place to store surplus water in wet years – water that could then be used to ease the strain in drought years.”

Davis Enterprise
Time for Sites Reservoir to be built, Garamendi says
“There’s a world of hurt in these fields and in the orchards around us because we failed in the past to prepare for the inevitable drought,” Garamendi said. “We cannot let that happen again.”

Fairfield Daily Republic
Garamendi, colleague seek momentum to build new reservoir
“A state Department of Water Resources release says Sites Reservoir could do such things as improve Delta water quality and make water available to respond to Delta emergencies.”

Chico Enterprise-Record
Garamendi, LaMalfa push bill for Sites Reservoir in Maxwell
“Proponents of Sites see the mid-state location as ideal to provide better operation of Oroville and Shasta lakes…. Also, when cold water is released from reservoirs for fish, that water could be stored near Maxwell, [Thad Bettner, manager of Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District said]. The water storage currently taking place for the community of Folsom could be helped by the existence of Sites, he continued.”

The Vacaville Reporter
Garamendi says storage vital for Solano, state
“Sites, considered for decades and studied since the 1990s, is the largest of the proposed reservoir projects being discussed for California, drawing Sacramento River water through canals instead of disrupting the river flow outright.”

The Marysville Appeal-Democrat
Bipartisan plan for Sites Reservoir introduced
“Long hailed as a solution to California water issues, the proposed Sites Reservoir took a bipartisan step forward on Wednesday…. Several sources said that if Sites were here today, the impacts of the drought on water users would not be as severe.”

Capital Press: The West’s Ag Website
Lawmakers unveil bill to build new California reservoir

“Eastman said the reservoir offers some environmental benefits, such as making sure there’s more water available in the Sacramento River for fall-run salmon and providing water for wildlife refuges and rice fields.”

KFBK Sacramento Radio: Two Congressmen Push for New NorCal Reservoir

Central Valley Business Times: Congress may consider north of Delta reservoir

Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers offer bill to construct water storage reservoir in California

KRCR-TV (Redding and Chico): Northstate Congressmen team up on water storage legislation