State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff, and Sen. Andreas Borgeas, R-Fresno, introduced legislation last week that would significantly impact the site reservoir project in Colusa County.
The bill, Senate Bill 890, aims to ensure that millions of acre-feet of water are stored during wet years instead of being discharged to the sea, said a statement from Republicans in the California Senate.
The sites reservoir is a proposed off-stream facility north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that captures stormwater from the Sacramento River for release primarily in dry, critical years, the appeal previously reported. Sites Reservoir officials said the project will augment California’s existing water supply by providing 1.5 million acre-feet of additional storage capacity during periods of drought to benefit the environment, l agriculture and communities.
“In 2014, California voters approved funding for the construction of a large aboveground water storage,” Nielsen said in a statement. “Due to bureaucratic red tape and lack of sufficient funds due to rising costs, we didn’t even turn the shovel on Sites Reservoir. It is unacceptable. We have the money to fully fund this reservoir and now is the time to do so.
According to the Republican senators, SB 890 would advance the goals of Proposition 1, passed in 2014, by “making significant investments in California’s aboveground water storage and transportation infrastructure.” The Senate bill would essentially establish a water storage and transportation fund that would provide the following:
– $2.6 billion to complete funding for Sites Reservoir in Colusa County
– $685 million to repair the Friant-Kern/Delta-Mendota canals and the San Luis Field/San Joaquin divisions of the California Aqueduct
“California’s water storage and transportation issues cut across partisan lines and have been exacerbated by the recent drought,” Borgeas, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement. “Clean, reliable water in California is not only critical to our nation’s economy and food supply, but also to our national security. Without proper investments in storage and transportation, California cannot continue to lead the country in food production.