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Massive Northern California Reservoir Project Scaled Back to Reduce Costs

An ambitious plan to build the largest new reservoir in California in 40 years to supply water to homes and businesses from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, along with Central Valley farmers, is being scaled back considerably amid questions about its $5 billion price tag and how much water it can deliver.

Sites Reservoir is proposed for construction in remote ranch lands in Colusa County, about 70 miles north of Sacramento. The reservoir, originally designed to be four times as big as Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park and nearly as big as San Luis Reservoir between Gilroy and Los Banos, received more money than any other project two years ago from a water bond passed by state voters during California’s historic drought.

Sites Reservoir to Receive $6 Million

The proposed Sites Reservoir will receive a $6 million investment from the federal government as part of a bipartisan spending bill that was signed during President Donald Trump’s year-end spending package.

According to a release issued by the Sites Project Authority, the funding, authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, was appropriated to the Bureau of Reclamation to advance Sites Reservoir.