LaMalfa and Garamendi Urge Proposition 1 Funding for Sites Reservoir

Jul 31, 2017
Press Release
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) issued the following statement after sending a bipartisan letter to the California Water Commission supporting Proposition 1 funding for Sites Reservoir.
LaMalfa said: “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. 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. Investing in Sites will fulfill the will of the 67% of Californians who supported Proposition 1 funding for water storage infrastructure, and I hope the California Water Commission recognizes the project’s diverse benefits.”
Garamendi said: “Sites Reservoir is one of the most useful, cost-effective water infrastructure projects California could build. 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.”
The Sites Reservoir project is a proposed 1.8 million acre-foot off-stream reservoir located in Glenn and Colusa Counties which will use existing infrastructure to divert high winter flows from the Sacramento River. As an off-stream reservoir, Sites does not dam a major stream or river and instead creates new environmental benefits, while relieving pressure on Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake, and other Northern California reservoirs. The project will dramatically increase the flexibility of California’s water supply infrastructure, which was built for 20 million people but now serves a population of nearly 40 million.
Supported by 28 water agencies serving over 20 million Californians and irrigating millions of acres of agriculture, the Sites Reservoir project has been endorsed by the Northern California Water Association, the California Alliance for Jobs, the California Farm Bureau, the California Rice Commission, the California State Building Trades Council, Ducks Unlimited, Colusa County, Glenn County, 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 Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Redding Record-Searchlight, the Sacramento Bee, and various other organizations.
Full text of the letter is below:
Armando Quintero
Chair, California Water Commission
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, California 94236-0001
Dear Chairman Quintero,
We write today to convey our support for the Sites Reservoir Project’s application for funding from the Proposition 1 Water Storage and Investment Program. The Sites project has the potential to provide multiple benefits to California’s farms, cities and to the environment.
As you know, the Sites Project is a 1.8 million acre-foot, off-stream regulating reservoir that would divert and store excess Sacramento River flows. The diversion levels would be dependent upon hydrologic conditions and would be structured to ensure that water taken out of the Sacramento River is truly in excess of downstream needs.
The operational flexibility that the Sites project would provide to the State’s entire water system is what makes this project so unique and worthy of funding. A few of the reservoir’s many uses include, but are not limited to, a reliable water supply for California 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 resiliency for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.
Opportunities to apply lessons learned during the last five years of drought must not be wasted. The drought, and this year’s record breaking rainfall, have shown us how critical it is to develop smart storage that allows us to store more water in wet years for future use in dry ones. Sites Reservoir is that smart storage.
Thank you for the work that you and the Water Commission are doing to increase water supply reliability across California. We look forward to your announcement of funding awards.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.