Ag Today May 7, 2018

Water Commission OKs $1 billion for Sites Reservoir

By Steve Schoonover, Chico Enterprise-Record
POSTED: 05/04/18, 3:27 PM PDT

Sacramento >> Sites Reservoir is in line for a billion bucks.

The State Water Commission, meeting this week in Sacramento to decide the public benefits of projects seeking the water storage bond money included in Proposition 1, declared the off-stream reservoir west of Maxwell to be eligible for $1.008 billion dollars of the roughly $2.6 billion that is available.

That doesn’t mean the Colusa County reservoir will actually get that much money, as the commission OK’d a bit over $2.8 billion for nine projects. Three others proposals were deemed ineligible for funding.

There is also another level of review before final allocations are made.

The money approved by voters in November 2014 can’t be used simply for increasing water storage, under the language included in the ballot measure.

Instead it has to pay for five public benefits: ecosystem benefits, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.

The money also has to achieve measurable improvements to the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Sites would be a 1.8 million acre-foot lake, and would cost $5.2 billion to build in total. Proponents say they have secured enough financial backing to complete the project with or without the state funds.

 

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