The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its intention to help fund the site reservoir project. The EPA has invited project sponsors to apply for a loan of nearly $2.2 billion through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). This will be the largest loan under the WIFIA program once finalized. Site Project Authority Chairman Fritz Durst said the significance of the EPA announcement “cannot be overstated”. The Sites Project is a proposed off-stream water storage facility that will capture and store stormwater from the Sacramento River.
“For the site reservoir to be built — bringing substantial and critical environmental benefits to California — it must be affordable for our participants. This loan can get us there,” Durst said in a press release. “We thank our federal partners and the Biden administration for supporting Sites Reservoir in such a meaningful way.”
Originally proposed in the 1950s, the reservoir would have the capacity to store up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water. The site reservoir project was one of 40 projects selected nationwide to apply for a WIFIA loan. The venues project manager originally submitted a letter of intent to apply for funding from WIFIA in July last year. A loan under the WIFIA program would significantly reduce costs for participants by around 10%. The project has also already received $816 million in voter-approved bond financing, as well as a $450 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture.
“With this additional $2.2 billion in federal funding, we have now secured the public funding needed to begin construction of Sites Reservoir. I now call on Governor Newsom to direct state agencies to finally complete the permitting process for the site reservoir project,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “After years of planning, it’s time to complete the state licensing process and build the first major new reservoir in California since 1999.”