Sites Reservoir was awarded $13.7 million in the 2021 federal spending bill, authorized through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, according to a press release. With the passage of the legislation, Congress has now approved approximately $23.7 million in WIIN Act funding to the Bureau of Reclamation for Sites Reservoir.
“We thank our federal partners for their continued support of Sites Reservoir,” said Fritz Durst, Chairman of the Sites Project Authority, said in a press release. “Our representatives understand the importance and significance of Sites, and these investments help us maintain momentum and meet critical milestones to advance the project.”
Sites Reservoir will increase California’s existing water supply by providing 1.5 million acre-feet of additional storage capacity to the state during times of drought, according to the press release.
“Sites Reservoir is a unique collaboration between local, state and federal partners,” Durst said in the release. “With their support, we are on track to build an affordable, modern and sustainable water storage project for California.”
Final feasibility report
Sites Reservoir reached a milestone recently with the release of a final feasibility report by the Bureau of Reclamation.
The completion of the report means the project will remain eligible for federal funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) and will allow for continued federal participation and potential future investment.
“Sites Reservoir has become a shining example of the importance of local, state and federal partnership and collaboration. We’ve been working closely with our federal partners to advance a modern water storage project that will help sustain people, businesses and farms in California for decades to come, while providing a new dedicated supply of water for the environment,” Durst said in a press release.
Sites Reservoir is a planned off-stream water storage facility that would capture and store stormwater flows from the Sacramento River – after all other water rights and regulatory requirements are met – for release primarily in dry and critical years for environmental use and for California communities, farms, and businesses.
The project would also provide federal and state resource agencies with a dedicated and reliable supply of water to provide environmental benefits, especially during drier years. A large portion of the project’s water would be dedicated to environmental uses, helping to improve conditions for Delta smelt, preserving the cold-water pool in Lake Shasta to support salmon development, spawning and rearing, and providing a reliable water supply to improve habitat for migratory birds and other native species.
“We thank our federal partners for their continued collaboration and commitment to this important project,” Durst said in a press release. “And we look forward to the day when the environment and communities throughout California see direct benefits from Sites Reservoir. A top priority for us in early 2021 will be to work with our federal partners and participants on refining the project to ensure it is affordable, permittable, and buildable.”