Northern California Representatives Introduce Bill to Facilitate Construction of Sites Reservoir
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Northern California Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and John Garamendi (D-CA) announced the introduction of H.R. 1269, which will accelerate the federal review of Sites Reservoir and better position the project for funding under Proposition 1, the voter-approved California water bond designed to make the state’s water systems more resilient. The bill also authorizes the federal government to participate in construction of the project should it be found feasible.
“Sites reservoir is one of the most useful, cost-effective water infrastructure projects California could build,” said Garamendi. “The recent feast-or-famine water years should remind us all of the importance of building safe, environmentally friendly long-term storage that can take advantage of wet years and help provide for our water needs during drier periods."
LaMalfa said: “The recent incident involving the Oroville Dam is testament to the fact that California needs better water infrastructure. Sites Reservoir will provide more storage per dollar invested than any other proposed project in the state. This will help to ensure that we have adequate storage to capture more water during the wet season and allow us to use that water effectively during times of future drought. Congressman Garamendi and I have long fought to secure funding for Sites Reservoir and I believe we are now closer than ever to seeing it happen.”
Bryce Lundberg, Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board Chairman, urged support for the measure. “This bipartisan effort advances progressive and modern water management—an important step forward for California. The recent transition between very wet and very dry years in the Sacramento Valley is a powerful reminder that we need water storage to protect people in wet years and to serve various beneficial purposes in dry years, including 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 important purposes in the Sacramento Valley, as well as providing statewide water system operational improvements.”
The Sites Project Authority is strongly behind the legislation. “We commend Reps. LaMalfa and Garamendi for their leadership on this bipartisan legislation that will advance Sites as an innovative water storage project to secure supplies for California while improving a vital ecosystem,” said Sites Project Authority Chair Kim Vann. Sites Project Authority Vice-Chair Fritz Durst said, “With overwhelming support by agencies throughout the Sacramento Valley and statewide, Sites will help address our tough water issues, create jobs, and help maintain a healthy environment.”
Sites Reservoir, which would be located in Colusa and Glenn counties, is an offstream reservoir project that will create 500,000 acre-feet of new water each year. This new water could:
· Restore operational flexibility to the entire State’s water system
· Meet the co-equal goals identified in the 2009 Delta Reform Act
· Dedicate water for fishery and flow purposes
· Contribute flows for Delta water quality purposes
· Mitigate the effects of climate change
· Contribute to the State’s renewable energy goals