California Congress members urge California Water Commission to support funding for Sites Reservoir

By on August 2, 2017

California Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (R-1st District- CA) and John Garamendi (D-3rd District-CA), along with a bipartisan group of 40 other members of the California Congressional delegation, have sent a letter to Armando Quintero, chairman the California Water Commission, indicating their support for Proposition 1 funding for Sites Reservoir. Rep. LaMalfa noted that investing Proposition 1 funds for water storage infrastructure such as the Sites Reservoir would fulfill the will of the 67% of Californians who voted in favor of the proposition in the 2014 election.

The Sites Reservoir project is a proposed 1.8 million acre-foot off-stream reservoir located in Glenn and Colusa Counties which, if built, will use existing infrastructure to divert high winter flows from the Sacramento River. Reps. LaMalfa and Garamendi contend that the Sites project will dramatically increase the flexibility of the state’s water supply infrastructure, which was built for 20 million people but now serves a population of nearly 40 million. The off-stream reservoir does not dam a major stream or river but would relieve pressure on Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake and other Northern California reservoirs.

“Sites Reservoir is one of the most useful, cost-effective water infrastructure projects California could build,” said Rep. Garamendi. “It is an ideal project that can provide water for agriculture, urban uses, and the environment. The support for the Sites Project from a majority of the California Congressional delegation speaks to the statewide benefits of the project.”

In the letter to Quintero, he California delegation supporting the use of Proposition 1 funds for the Sites Reservoir project note that the reservoir’s many uses would include “a reliable water supply for California’s cities and agriculture, dedicated water for fishery and environmental flow purposes, increased habitat for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway, and improved flexibility and drought resistance for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.” The letter also states that diversion levels would be dependent on hydrologic conditions and that water removed from the Sacramento river would first be deemed as truly in excess of downstream needs.

“North and South, rural and urban, Republican and Democrat, California’s leaders agree on one thing: our state needs to invest in Sites Reservoir to meet the water supply challenges of today and the future,” stated Rep. LaMalfa. “Sites provides more water per dollar invested than any other proposed project in the state, enough to supply millions of Californians for an entire year, while also creating environmental benefits and allowing smart recapture and reuse of water released from other reservoirs.

The use of Proposition 1 funds for the Sites Reservoir project is currently supported by 28 water agencies who serve some 20 million Californians and irrigate millions of agricultural acres. The Sites project is also supported by a diverse coalition of California groups including the California Alliance for Jobs, the California Farm Bureau, the California Rice Commission, the California State Building Trades Council, Colusa County, Glenn County, the Northern California Water Association, the Redding Record-Searchlight, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (including the Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba, as well as 22 cities), the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and various other organizations.