March 28, 2022
The long-awaited Sites Reservoir project in Northern California could break ground in late 2024, a local TV station is reporting.
The Sites Authority is moving forward to secure water right and critical permits for the project, which would capture Sacramento River waters during very wet years for use during droughts, executive director Jerry Brown recently told KRCR-TV in Redding.
The $4 billion project in the western Sacramento Valley will be paid for with funds from Proposition 1, a water bond passed by voters in 2014, and federal and local sources. The project is supported by s broad statewide coalition including cities, counties, water, and irrigation districts throughout the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California.
The California Water Commission (CWC) recently announced increased funding for Proposition 1 bond recipients including $38 million for Sites Reservoir, bringing the total amount to $875 million in Proposition 1 funds for the project. Additional funds became available due to another project withdrawing from the program, and the CWC was able to increase the investment for all projects to partially account for inflation and, specifically for Sites, make up for previous funding shortages, according to project officials. Sites Reservoir is eligible for Proposition 1 because of its significant public benefits, including a dedicated source of water for the environment.
Separately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally invited the Sites Project Authority to apply for a $2.2 billion low-interest loan through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which would bring the project significantly closer to construction and completion. A loan through the WIFIA program could dramatically reduce the costs to participants, making it more affordable for cities, farms, and resource managers to have access to more water in dry years.
“Sites Reservoir has some real momentum right now with the recent announcement of a WIFIA loan and now additional Proposal 1 funding,” said Fritz Durst, chairman of the Sites Project Authority. “We’re grateful the California Water Commission was able to give Sites Reservoir and all of the storage projects a funding boost and we look forward to delivering substantial benefits for California.”
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