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CA Authorizes $2.7B in Water Storage Work

Thursday, July 26, 2018

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California officials have approved more than $2.5 billion in spending for water projects in the state, including new and expanded dams and reservoirs in the Santa Clara Valley and Contra Costa County, though the projects in question still face hurdles, as more than half of the money needed for each must be found elsewhere.

North Fork Pacheco Creek Dam
Gary Reyes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project would expand the 6,000-acre-foot North Fork Pacheco Creek Dam reservoir by a magnitude of more than 20.

The California Water Commission authorized the expenditures at a meeting Tuesday (July 24), ranking eight water-storage projects in terms of their public impact and making a final determination as to the total money the state would devote to each. The CWC can supply up to half the funding for a given project according to its mandate per Proposition 1.

The Projects

The Sites Project, a proposed reservoir for the Sacramento Valley that would create the seventh-largest reservoir in the state, received the greatest amount of committed funds at more than $816 million, but that fell well short of the $1 billion that the CWC had been expected to devote to the $5 billion megaproject. According to the Los Angeles Times, commissioners were unable to commit as much as they’d hoped because the project was determined not to be of help to salmon runs on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

The Santa Clara Valley’s Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project, a proposed expansion of the North Fork Pacheco Creek Dam from 6,000 acre-feet to 140,000 acre-feet, was authorized for $485 million in funding, close to the maximum permitted for the $969 million job.

The Temperance Flat Reservoir Project, a proposed 665-foot-high dam on the San Joaquin River in the Sierra Nevada, received the $171 million in funding that was expected, comprising less than 7 percent of the total $2.6 billion cost of that project.

And the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project, valued at $980 million, received a $459 million authorization, the maximum possible for that proposal, in Contra Costa County, in the Bay Area.

The Chino Basin Conjunctive Use Environmental Water Storage/Exchange Program, which would entail a treatment facility (as well as pipes and pumps) for the recycling of wastewater and its storage underground, was approved for $207 million, a little under half of the project’s $480 million price tag.

Three other groundwater projects also received funding.

Proponents of the projects in question have until 2022 to secure further funding for the work; if they cannot do so, the state funding will expire.  


Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Locks and dams; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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