Wednesday January 25, 2023

Colusa County Sun-Herald

The Sites Project Authority released findings from a new analysis that projected Sites Reservoir could have diverted and captured 120,000 acre-feet of water in just two weeks if the reservoir had been operational from Jan. 3 through Jan. 15 and would continue to capture water over the next few weeks as flows continue to run high.

“This is exactly the type of scenario that Sites is being built for – short windows of extremely high flows. There is an untapped opportunity to capture and store a portion of the significant amount of flow from the Sacramento River that occurs during these rare but major storms without impacting the value of these high flows for our environment,” said Jerry Brown, executive director of the Sites Project Authority.

The project, which has been in the works for more than 60 years, hopes to turn the Sites Valley, located 10 miles west of Maxwell where Colusa and Glenn counties meet, into a state-of-the-art off-stream water storage facility that captures and stores stormwater flows in the Sacramento River – after all other water rights and regulatory requirements are met – for release in dry and critical years for environmental use and for communities, farms and businesses statewide to utilize when needed.

According to a release issued by the Authority, the analysis found Sites Reservoir could have diverted 120,000 acre-feet of water – less than 4% of Delta outflow – from Jan. 3 to Jan. 15 and long-range forecasts estimated that Sites Reservoir would continue to divert stormwater through at least Feb. 15, for a total 382,000 acre-feet of water. 

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