As reported in this article in the Sacramento Bee, we might finally see some movement of building more water storage, though it is a small amount towards what we really need, it will be a good start.
MAXWELL — In a rare moment of unity for two ideological antagonists, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, on Wednesday unveiled legislation to build a new large-scale reservoir in Northern California.
“There’s a world of hurt in these fields and in the orchards around us because we failed in the past to prepare for the inevitable drought,” Garamendi said, gesturing to fields bordered by the slow-flowing Glenn-Colusa canal.
That Garamendi and LaMalfa – who often cast opposing votes in Congress – found common ground underscores how important the issue of water storage has become for both Republicans and Democrats as California enters a third dry year. If the state is to endure prolonged droughts, proponents of the approach say, it must build more capacity to trap precipitation in wetter years.
The Sites reservoir (technically known as the North of the Delta Offstream Storage project) would be capable of holding up to 1.9 million acre-feet of water, yielding 470,000 to 640,000 acre-feet of water for various uses. LaMalfa and Garamendi’s bill would accelerate a feasibility study years in the making and automatically authorize the project once the U.S. Department of the Interior reviews the study.
Proponents said more storage would benefit a multitude of users that depend on healthy freshwater flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: farmers, urban dwellers and endangered Delta fish. California would have another place to store surplus water in wet years – water that could then be used to ease the strain in drought years.
“The more storage we have anywhere in California helps all of us,” LaMalfa said, “whether we’re talking for agriculture, we’re talking urban use, health and safety or for environmental needs.”
The dam would cost an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion to build, and the bill does not guarantee federal funds. LaMalfa said that would ease its passage by reassuring critics wary of earmarks, and he predicted that other funding sources would surface.
“We have private sector funding that is waiting to happen if we give them the confidence in this project,” LaMalfa said. “The goodness of this project sells itself.”
The Sites reservoir sits on a short list of storage projects that California’s elected officials are trying to push forward, goaded by a prolonged drought that ranks among the state’s worst. Other projects in active bills before Congress include efforts to raise Shasta Dam, enlarge the San Luis Reservoir and construct a dam on the Upper San Joaquin River, popularly referred to as Temperance Flat.
Retrieved March 20, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/19/6251932/citing-california-drought-garamendi.html