Sites Reservoir Project Act

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 28, 2019
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARAMENDI. Madam Speaker, today I introduce the ``Sites Reservoir Project Act,'' which would provide federal support for the 1.8 million acre-feet Sites Reservoir and related water infrastructure in Colusa and Glenn Counties.

Specifically, the ``Sites Reservoir Project Act'' would direct the Bureau of Reclamation to complete the feasibility study for the project and, if deemed feasible, authorize federal funding and technical support for its construction. The reservoir would be owned and operated by the Sites Joint Powers Authority, a regional consortium of local water agencies and counties formed in 2010.

Our state must make forward-looking investments to capture and store water during wet years for use during drought. The Sites Reservoir is one such critical infrastructure project needed to meet California's future water needs, given climate change. The project is essential to integrated water management in the Sacramento Valley and would maximize storage of excess Sacramento River flows during winter storms for use later in the year. The Sites Reservoir Project would increase storage capacity north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, improving resiliency in our statewide water system, and helping to advance California's renewable energy goals with the pumped-storage component planned for phase II of the project.

To date, more than $1.2 billion in public funding has been committed to the Sites Reservoir Project, including $816 million from California's State Water Bond (2014 Proposition 1) and federal funding from the Bureau of Reclamation for the feasibility study and related work. In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture committed $449 million in low-interest financing from the Rural Development Program, recognizing the project's importance to California's farming communities.

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague and northern California neighbor Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) for his support as the bill's original cosponsor and for sponsoring similar legislation in previous Congresses.

I look forward to working with all members of the California delegation to advance this bipartisan bill and see this critical reservoir project completed.