Water Commission chairman resigns, as sites set to secure funding

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Teresa Alvarado led her final meeting this week as chair of the California Water Commission. Alvarado cited personal and professional demands in resigning and held back tears while calling his service on the commission an incredible honor and a real joy.

When Governor Gavin Newsom named her to the commission in August 2019, Alvarado was working at an urban land-use planning organization in San Francisco. She took a job last summer as regional vice president of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

The eight-member commission is expected to vote later this year on whether to approve funding for the site reservoir project proposal. On Wednesday, two commissioners voted against a measure to allocate an additional $25 million to venues and were skeptical of venues’ compliance with the environmental marks set out in Proposition 1 on water. But the six upvotes indicate broader support for Sites, even without Alvarado.

The EPA, meanwhile, has invited site sponsors to apply for a $2.2 billion loan through the Water Infrastructure Funding and Innovation Act. According to the developers, this will bring the project significantly closer to construction and completion.

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla immediately applauded the announcement.

“I am pleased that California is finally on the verge of building several large storage projects,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Sites Reservoir is the largest and will provide the most significant benefits to our water system.”

Padilla added that the sites would “help prevent runoff from being wasted.”

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