From – At last week’s Water Commission meeting, commissioners approved increasing the early funding award for Sites Reservoir by $2.9 million.

Jerry Brown, executive director of the Sites Project Authority (and not the ex-governor), was on hand to make the request.  He also provided an update on the project. The proposed 1.5 MAF reservoir is one of seven projects that have been selected to receive funding through the Prop 1 Water Storage Investment Program. The project would capture and store stormwater flows from the Sacramento River in an off-stream reservoir that is located west of the river.  The water would be delivered through mostly existing and some new conveyance infrastructure.

Mr. Brown said that they have completed their water rights application and the State Water Board is expected to issue notice of their water rights application at the end of May or first week of June.  They are expecting to finalize the EIR in August.

The project has 22 participants and a waiting list, so it is now fully subscribed.  Project participants are guaranteed a proportionate share of the storage space and a proportionate share of the water that the project diverts. Mr. Brown said that had the reservoir been in place this year, Sites would have been able to capture 500,000 acre-feet of water.  He also noted that the project does not rely on the Delta Conveyance Project; the release and movement of water to southern California participants would occur by flowing across the Delta, as it does now.

Construction is estimated to take six to eight years.  The bulk of time is needed to construct two large earthen dams.  The project also has yet to begin land acquisition, which Commissioners Solorio and Makler expressed some concern about.  There are 14,000 acres to be acquired from about 30 landholders.  Mr. Brown said it comes down to funds, which they don’t have at the moment.  Although they do have eminent domain authority, he does not anticipate having to use it as the project enjoys ‘fantastic’ local support.