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Big Reservoir Planned for California Scaled Back Due to Lack of Funds

Missed in the non-stop coronavirus coverage of the past several months: plans to build a massive reservoir in North California have been scaled back dramatically.
May 14, 2020, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Water Storage
Aiga Eizos

Paul Rogers reports: "An ambitious plan to build the largest new reservoir in California in 40 years to supply water to homes and businesses from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, along with Central Valley farmers, is being scaled back considerably amid questions about its $5 billion price tag and how much water it can deliver."

The Sites Reservoir, as the future reservoir is known, is planned for ranch land in Colusa County, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, and funded by the largest chunk of Proposition 1 money awarded by the California Water Commission in 2018. Despite that big chunk of funding, the project still hasn't found all the money it needs, so the Sites Project Authority is revising the plan. Rogers explains the changes:

Under the new approach, the price tag will be cut roughly 40% from $5.1 billion to $3 billion. The reservoir’s size will shrink from 1.8 million acre feet to 1.5 million acre feet. Plans to build an 18-mile pipeline east to the Sacramento River to fill the reservoir were dropped in favor of using existing canals. A hydro-power pumping station was cut. And significantly, the amount of water the reservoir is expected to deliver on average, known as the “annual yield,” was cut in half from 505,000 acre feet to 243,000 acre feet.

The article includes more details about what it will take to get the project across the finish line.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, May 11, 2020 in The Mercury News
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