Sites Project Moving Forward: Authority Names New Executive Director

Friday, Mar 27th, 2020

The Sites Project Authority has selected Jerry Brown, Principal Consultant and CEO at Waterology Consulting, to provide Executive Director services for the next phase of the project.

From the Sites Project Authority’s press release:

Following a comprehensive outreach and recruitment effort, the Sites Project Authority Board of Directors has selected Jerry Brown as the Executive Director for Sites Reservoir.

Jerry Brown previously served as general manager of Contra Costa Water District where he oversaw the operations and management of a large water system that served more than 500,000 customers. In this role, he also oversaw development of the first Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion in 2012. Since leaving CCWD in 2019, he has been working closely with Bay Area water agencies, refuge managers and Central Valley water users to develop the second expansion of Los Vaqueros as a regional asset funded by Prop 1, similar to Sites Reservoir.

“As we enter the next phase of developing Sites Reservoir, the Authority Board was looking for someone with experience navigating the complexity of water storage development that could accelerate the pace of development. Among a well-qualified pool of candidates, Mr. Brown stood out as the person we needed to take the project through the next stage,” said Fritz Durst, chairman of the Sites Project Authority.

Last year, in response to a comprehensive organizational assessment directed by the Sites Project Authority and Reservoir Committee membership, the Sites Project Authority began recruitment for an executive director who could meet the needs of the project throughout the next phase of development. Mr. Brown will assume this role effective March 30, 2020.

“I’m looking forward to this exciting opportunity, especially working with the Authority Board and the local community which is so vital to the success of the project. My skills and experience along with the amazing team of professionals already working on the project make-up a strong, dedicated group that share in the commitment to get this project done in a manner that protects and enhances fish and wildlife and water reliability,” said incoming executive director Jerry Brown.

Advancing the Sites Project is a top policy priority for NCWA, as described in the 2020 Priorities document (available below or by clicking here):

As Sacramento River Basin water resources managers look to serve multiple benefits in the future, the importance and need for Sites Reservoir becomes clear. Sites Reservoir is an innovative 21st century water project: an off-stream regulating reservoir on the west-side of the Sacramento Valley that can store water for the future by capturing it during high runoff periods, and then releasing it for various beneficial uses at a later time. With its location upstream of the Delta and near the Sacramento River, water in Sites Reservoir would serve multiple benefits in the Sacramento River Basin, as well as the Delta and the rest of the state.

California has other successful off-stream reservoirs that have added value to their region and the state. This includes Diamond Valley Lake in Southern California and Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the Bay Area. Recent dry years have shown the value that these off-stream reservoirs provide California communities and regional water management.

Sites Reservoir would be a dramatic enhancement to California’s water system and the first storage project in California with a dedicated supply for the environment. This facility would provide multiple benefits to improve aquatic habitat conditions and withstand dry year conditions. This reservoir would be operated to accommodate and address the uncertainties created by a changing climate and improve environmental and water supply system resilience. Sites Reservoir can provide a freshwater ecosystem water budget that would help provide flexibility and make water available during drier years—which would help ensure water availability for the ecosystem. Most importantly, Sites Reservoir would significantly improve the state’s water management system in drier periods and restore much needed flexibility and reliability that have been lost in the system.

Recent climate studies have shown that California’s winter runoff is likely to remain similar in volume but come in fewer months of the year, concentrating runoff and increasing flood risks. Adapting to this challenge requires infrastructure that can store surplus water when it is available and deploy it for ecosystem and human uses when water is not available. Sites is one of the best opportunities to re-imagine our water system in the 21st century, prepare for future climate variability, and add value to our current water system by providing high-quality water to enhance natural infrastructure, the environment, public safety, the economy, and quality of life for Californians.

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