Garamendi urging more federal investment in Sites Reservoir

Rep. John Garamendi, senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has sent a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation urging it to allocate $37.4 million for Sites Reservoir in fiscal year 2019.

“I’ve been a longtime proponent of building Sites Reservoir, which would add 500,000 acre-feet per year of new water for the environment, farms and cities,” said Garamendi, a Democrat who represents the 3rd District that includes Colusa County.

To advance the bipartisan project, Garamendi’s letter is signed by 16 other Democratic Congressmen from California.

If awarded, the funding would come from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, which Garamendi helped author.

Congress appropriated $4.3 million to the Sites project earlier this year, and the California Water Commission recently awarded $816 million to help in its construction.

Estimated to cost more than $5 billion, Sites Reservoir would be the first multipurpose project built in 40 years that could help California’s drought resilience, and provide 1.8 million acre-feet of new water for both human and environmental uses.

Those who support the project believe that dollar for dollar, Sites is the most efficient storage project in the state, and Garamendi said it deserves a federal investment.

“Federal support will be essential to moving this vital project toward completion,” said Garamendi. “This letter shows that Sites has broad support from just about every part of the state and will hopefully convince Reclamation to award additional funding to supplement the state of California’s investment.”

Sites Project Authority Chairman Fritz Durst Sites, in a statement, said Sites is a smart and long overdue water supply investment for California and the nation.

“Building on the endorsement from the California Water Commission, these federal funds will help advance the Sites Project, which offers the unique benefit of improving water quality and habitat conditions in the Sacramento River and Delta, while at the same time providing significant water supply for cities, farms, and families alike,” Durst said.