The Sites Project Authority announced recently it will begin seeking additional entities to participate in Phase 1 of the reservoir project.

Phase 1 of the project includes completing studies that are required for submitting an application under Proposition 1 by June 2017. The proposition is intended to supply up to half of the funding required for surface storage projects in California.

The Sites Project Authority has already started on studies needed for the application but is seeking other entities to help with the process.

"The Authority is excited about reaching this milestone which will advance the Sites Reservoir Project in partnership with both the Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation," said Kim Dolbow Vann, chairperson for the Authority, in a press release.

Key requirements for the application that will be turned into the California Water Commission for the first phase includes documentation that lays out the project's technical and economic feasibility, drafting an environmental document that will be available to the public, and a preliminary description of the project's operations.

"Aside from providing flows under Proposition 1 that will improve the ecosystem and provide water quality benefits," Dolbow Vann said, "our first priority is to deliver water for the benefit of the Sacramento Valley, where we plan to provide these public water agencies with nearly 130,000 acre-feet of water for beneficial use."

The Authority is co prised of counties and water districts in the Sacramento Valley that are working toward advancing the Sites Reservoir Project — a proposed off-stream regulating reservoir that would have the capacity to store up to 1,800,000 acre-feet of water west of Maxwell.

Fritz Durst, vice chairperson for the Authority, said the past five years have shown the importance and need for having a reservoir like Sites and a reliable water supply locally, as well as for the entire state of California.

"The California Department of Water Resources has estimated that if Sites Reservoir were operating in 2015 — a critically dry water year type in Northern California — Sites Reservoir would have been capable of storing 400,000 acre-feet," Durst said in the press release. "This is water that could have helped in a meaningful manner to minimize the effect of the drought on people and the environment."

After Phase 1 is completed, subsequent phases include completing the environmental documentation based on the public's input, acquisition of permits for the project, engineering design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.

The call date for entities to submit proposals is 4 p.m. July 29.

A public meeting on the project and its details will be held at the American Legion Hall in Maxwell from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. July 20.

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