As part of a short-term government funding bill that was signed into law earlier this month, Congress has provided Sites Reservoir with $80 million in federal funds.
According to a release issued by the Sites Project, the allocation of these funds – along with other critical funding for storage projects in the West – is a result of the Secretary of Interior’s Dec. 2020 determinations, in which it was found that Sites Reservoir is technically and financially feasible and should be prioritized for federal investment.
“The $80 million will be directly applied to paying the federal share of planning and engineering costs of Sites Reservoir which ensures a dedicated portion of the Project benefits to the federal government’s interests in meeting the future water needs of the environment, farms and cities across California,” said Fritz Durst, chairman of the Sites Project Authority.
Sites Reservoir is an off-stream facility that does not dam a major river system and would not block fish migration or spawning, according to the release. It captures and stores 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 when it is so desperately needed.
According to the release, the 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 to benefit the environment, agriculture and communities.
“Flexible water storage is needed now more than ever,” said Jeff Davis, chairman of the Sites Reservoir Committee. “Sites has a unique collaboration between local, state and federal partners for an affordable, permittable and buildable water storage project for California.”
One of Sites Reservoir’s greatest strengths, according to Sites Reservoir officials, is its broad statewide representation including cities, counties, water and irrigation districts throughout the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California and its ability to provide unique water supply and environmental benefits during dry and critical water years, and especially during extended drought periods.
“We thank our federal representatives and Project partners, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, for their continued support of Sites Reservoir, especially as the drought situation in California becomes more severe,” said Durst. “This critical funding helps us to continue advancing Sites Reservoir as a drought resilient water storage solution for the people of California.”
For more information about the Sites Reservoir project, visit www.sitesproject.org.