For further information, please see the Department of Water Resources website.
The proposed Sites reservoir has been identified by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the CALFED Bay-Delta Program (CALFED) as one of the most cost-effective and environmentally beneficial new facilities under consideration in California. The California legislature first recognized the potential for a project at Sites in 1993 (AB 2315, Chapter 415, Statutes of 1993). The CALFED Record of Decision (ROD) provides that "CALFED will join local partners in Stage 1 (7 years) to evaluate" Sites reservoir. A joint planning Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the reservoir between federal and state agencies and local interests in the Sacramento Valley was signed in November 2000.
The CALFED ROD also states that the project, if ultimately constructed, could enhance water supply reliability for environmental, urban and agricultural uses throughout the state. Sites would provide water supplies in average and dry years for urban, agricultural and environmental purposes, increase Delta outflows during critical times, improve flood control, enhance groundwater recharge, contribute to the Environmental Water Account (EWA), and improve flexibility for existing projects, such as Shasta Reservoir.
The proposed location of the Sites off-stream storage project is approximately 10 miles west of Maxwell in Antelope Valley. The reservoir would have a storage capacity of 1.9 million acre-feet (possibly larger) and would enhance water management flexibility throughout the state. Sites reservoir can greatly increase reliability of water supplies in the Sacramento Valley and other areas of the state by reducing water diversions on the Sacramento River during critical fish migration periods. In addition, by providing additional storage and operational benefits, Sites reservoir would be a critical component of an integrated water management and water development program for the Sacramento Valley.
Sites reservoir, as an off-stream project, would be filled primarily by pumped diversions from the Sacramento River. Water would be diverted into the reservoir during peak flow periods in winter months (for example, during flood years like 1997 and 1998). To minimize potential impacts of existing diversions on Sacramento River fisheries, Sites would release water back into valley conveyance systems (such as the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District Canal and Tehama Colusa Canal) in exchange for water that would otherwise have been diverted from the Sacramento River. This undiverted summer water could become available for other downstream uses in the Bay-Delta.
The environmental review and planning documentation are scheduled to be completed in 2007. The Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Notice of Intent were issued in October 2001.
Sites Reservoir site in Colusa County, California, in a grass-covered valley used for cattle grazing (view looking south). Photo courtesy of the CA Department of Water Resources.click to enlarge
Artist's rendering of the completed Sites Reservoir and dams (view looking south). Courtesy of the CA Department of Water Resources.click to enlarge
Artist's rendering of the completed Sites Reservoir and dams showing the locations of five recreation areas for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities proposed by the CA Department of Water Resources (view looking south).click to enlarge
Sites Reservoir Maps
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