Saving Water for California’s Future: The Public Benefits of Sites Reservoir

Thursday, Jan 26th, 2017

The past several years have been a good reminder that California’s hydrology is both variable and unpredictable. This variability is one reason that the proposed Sites Reservoir is so important and valuable to California.

In 2015, with hardly any snowpack or rainfall in Northern California, Sites Reservoir could have captured 660,000 acre-feet of water from two storm events. In 2017, a wet year so far, Sites could have captured 585,000 acre-feet of water by January 17. On an annualized basis, Sites Reservoir adds about 500,000 acre-feet of water annually to California’s water system, allowing an additional 1.12 million acre-feet of water to be stored in other Sacramento Valley reservoirs during drought years. Sites Reservoir will provide operational flexibility to California’s water system by capturing and storing runoff supplies for use in future dry or critically dry years.

Sites Reservoir is a unique and very modern water storage project–offering significant public benefits by providing up to 50% of water to environmental flows, creating a net benefit in water quality improvements; reduced salinity levels in the Delta; improved Pacific Flyway habitat for migratory birds and other native species; and more reliable cold water for the benefit of salmon in the Sacramento Valley river systems.

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