Sites Reservoir: Water for Dry Years

Now more than ever, California needs to address its statewide water management challenges by implementing innovative solutions that address our state’s need for a sustainable water supply. The state’s water infrastructure is getting older and stressed beyond its capabilities.

Sites Reservoir is a part of the solution. Sites Reservoir is an environmentally beneficial, off-river reservoir that will capture excess water from major storms and save it for drier periods, helping California’s farms, businesses and cities continue to supply reliable water when other sources are low.

Sites Reservoir Fast Facts

Creates additional 1.2 million acre-foot off-stream storage for drier periods

Increases Sacramento Valley water storage capacity by up to 15 percent

Creates reliable supplies for environmental, agricultural,and municipal uses

Adds up to 500,000 acre-feet annually, on average, to California’s water system and over 700,000 in drier periods

29 participating agencies representing communities across California

The water that Californians use for drinking, recreating and protecting the environment moves through a system that is arguably the most complex in the world.

Sites Reservoir Benefits

California Sites Location
  • Reliable dry-year water supply for California communities, farms and businesses
  • Improved water quality
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Flood management
  • Contribution to California’s renewable energy goals
  • Environmental water in drier periods for native fish and Pacific Flyway habitat for migratory birds and other native species
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Creation and protection of middle-class jobs, including a large skilled workforce during seven-year construction

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Where is Sites Reservoir?

The Sites Reservoir Project will be situated on the west side of the Sacramento Valley, approximately 10 miles west of Maxwell, Calif., in Glenn and Colusa Counties. The Sacramento Valley is a unique region, known for its farming community, rich agricultural benefits, and natural beauty. The region has been considered ideal for off-stream water storage since the 1980s, and the proposal is widely supported by local community leaders, residents, as well as state water managers and water agencies from the Bay Area to Southern California.

Sites Reservoir proposed site

How Sites Reservoir Will Work

A mother is gardening with her twin toddler sons on a mother's day. Her elementary age daughter is watering the plants with a watering can.

Sites Reservoir would capture and store stormwater flows from 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 California communities, farms, and businesses when it is so desperately needed.

When operated in coordination with other Northern California reservoirs such as Shasta, Oroville, and Folsom, which function as the backbone to both the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, Sites Reservoir will greatly increase flexibility, reliability and resiliency of statewide water supplies in drier periods. Learn more about how Sites Reservoir will work.

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