Despite attempts at passing a resolution in support of the Sites Reservoir project, Williams City Mayor, John Troughton Jr. requested action from the current siting council for the fourth time.
On Wednesday, January 21, 2014 the resolution finally passed with a 4-1 vote. Williams Mayor, John Troughton Jr. and council members Alfred Sellers Jr., Santos Jauregui, and Charles Bergson with a yes vote. Council Member Kent Boes remained at a no vote.
“After speaking with constituents who have property in the proposed project area, most were against the project,” said Councilmember Boes to the Williams Pioneer Review, following his decision.
Councilmember Boes’ comments reflected the prior sitting council thoughts on the project, often requesting for more information and asking questions that could not be answered.
“Although this is a very good idea, I don’t agree with the location,” Boes commented, “I believe this will provide short term benefits there will be very little impact to the City of Williams.”
Councilmember Boes also questioned the funding of the Sites Reservoir and water allocation.
“From what I have heard this will not be a wholly federal funded project, and outside private interests will ultimately determine who will benefit from it,” Councilmember Boes added.
During prior attempts to pass the letter of support resolution, the topic set precedence for a lengthy conversation and heated debates.
Williams Mayor John Troughton Jr. has always displayed his steadfast support for the Sites project; however there were no comments or debate over the topic during the January council meeting.
“I have researched this a lot,” said Mayor Troughton during the council meeting.
Mayor Troughton commented that he was aware of the opposition to the project but felt it was a project that would benefit all.
“I think it’s good for the future of this valley,” said Mayor Troughton, “If you know what has happened in the last two or three years, it’s one of the main reasons that this should have been taken up in the 1970’s when we had a drought that year.”
Mayor Troughton also commented that although the project has not been approved, two locations for the state’s new water storage included that in the community of Sites and the community of Temperance.
“For the overall good for everybody in this area, the benefits outweigh the other side of it,” he added.
Current Council Members Alfred Sellers, Santos Jauregui and Chuck Bergson made no comment. Public comment was heard, but no comment was given.
About the Sites Reservoir
The Sites Reservoir has been a controversial topic that has expanded many decades – until recently the project has been given light after California experienced one of the driest years on record. In March, Congressmen John Garamendi, and Congressmen Doug LaMalfa announced a bipartisan bill titled the ‘Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014’ that will authorize a feasibility study and construction of Sites Reservoir in Colusa County.
The Sites Reservoir is proposed to add flexibility to the state’s water management system and provide an enhanced water supply, and reliability for the urban, agricultural, and environmental uses.
Once completed the Sites Reservoir is estimated to hold a maximum capacity of 1.8 million acre-feet, with a construction costs an estimated 3.2 billion dollars. Annual maintenance and operation cost of $21 million.
The proposed site for the reservoir is off-stream, and will inundate grassland that is currently used for cattle grazing. Approximately 80 families own the 14,000 acres that are proposed for the reservoir project – thus including about ten homes.
Currently the Sites Reservoir project is on hold pending the regulations set by the State of California on the distribution of funds from the 2014 Water Bond, a $7.5 billion dollar general obligation bond approved by California Voters on November 4, 2014. The 2014 Water Bond allocates $2.7 billion dollars to fund water storage projects; however, no specific projects are identified for funding and must be in regions connected to the Bay-Delta watershed to compete for funding.