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A Flexible Storage Solution

Sites Reservoir is a proposed 1.5 million acre foot offstream reservoir. It is designed to adapt to changing climate conditions, providing a more flexible water supply for California. Future climate projections show more precipitation will come in the form of rain and not snow, but our current water management system does not have the infrastructure to capitalize on large amounts of rainfall and runoff. As a rain-fed storage solution, Sites Reservoir will be able to capture water from these extreme storm events, which can be used by communities, farms, and the environment when water is more scarce.

Once operational, Sites Reservoir will also be integrated with the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, improving management of California’s water supply during extremes such as flooding and drought.

Designed with the Environment in Mind

Unlike reservoirs of the past, Sites Reservoir will not dam, nor in any way impede, a major river system and does not threaten fish migration or spawning. In fact, Sites Reservoir will provide dramatic benefits to the ecosystem.

Sites Reservoir will be the first reservoir in California to dedicate a portion of its water specifically for the environment to support wildlife and their habitat during drought periods. 

  • Provide up to 372,020 acre-feet of storage space for environmental uses 
  • Contribute to the increased fresh-water flow into the Delta during drier periods to assist with salinity management of this critical estuary
  • Help maintain cold water for salmon and improve conditions for fish in the upper Sacramento River
  • Allow federal and state natural resource agencies to support environmental needs and their priorities when other water supplies aren’t as plentiful or reliable

Project Timeline

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2026. Sites Reservoir is anticipated to be operational at the end of 2032.

About the Sites Project Authority

The Sites Reservoir Project is led by the Sites Project Authority, a joint powers authority made up of irrigation agencies, water districts, cities, and counties in the Sacramento Valley. Since 2010, the Authority has led the planning and development of Sites Reservoir in collaboration with the federal government, state government, and local public agencies. Participation in Sites Reservoir is broad and diverse including the Bureau of Reclamation, the State of California, public irrigation districts in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, as well as urban areas in Southern California and the Bay Area. The participants represent millions of Californians, thousands of acres of food-producing farmland, and natural resource areas that will receive the benefits provided by Sites Reservoir.


The Sites Project Authority will build and operate a climate-resilient, 21st Century water storage system to responsibly manage and deliver water, improve the environment, and provide flood control and recreational benefits.


Affordable water sustainably managed for California’s farms, cities, and environment for generations to come.


To fulfill its mission, the partners and staff of the Authority uphold these central values:

  • Safety. Design, construction, and operation of the reservoir will satisfy all federal, state, and local requirements and exceed standards for public safety and security.
  • Trust and Integrity. The Authority is committed to operating with integrity, thoughtful information and analysis, and open and transparent communications and decision-making.
  • Respect for Local Communities. The Authority recognizes the significant contributions of local Sacramento Valley landowners and communities and will be a respectful, supportive partner and be a good neighbor throughout the project.
  • Environmental Stewardship. The Authority views itself as a partner with the environment with a firm duty to act as a responsible steward of natural resources.
  • Shared Responsibility for Shared Benefits. Decisions and actions will rely on a collaborative, inclusive approach that honors, balances, and leverages the active roles and contributions of partners, stakeholders, and ratepayers.
  • Accountability and Transparency. Efficiency, fiscal responsibility, equitable cost allocation, and transparency will guide the decisions, expenditures, communications, and activities of the Authority.
  • Proactive Innovation. A nimble, responsive culture will be cultivated to provide innovative solutions in delivering the reservoir’s multiple benefits over the next century and beyond.
  • Diversity and Inclusivity. In carrying out its mission, the Authority will foster inclusion, respect, and appreciation for the state’s diverse demographics and geographies to create a project serving all of California.


The Authority is committed to achieving these overarching goals and objectives in building and operating a 21st Century reservoir that will serve water needs throughout the state.


Secure Commitments for Project Funding

A. Agree on water service contracts with local agency participants and secure project financing.

B. Secure a final funding agreement with the California Water Commission for the remainder of the $875 million conditionally approved for the project in July 2018.

C. Secure federal funding from the WIIN Act and other sources.


Secure the Agreements and Permits Necessary to Build and Operate a Multi-Benefit Reservoir

A. Negotiate final operations agreements with federal, state, and local partners.

B. Complete environmental review and secure permits for construction and operation.

C. Complete Tribal, landowner, and local agency agreements.


Complete Facilities Designs that Efficiently Manage Risks and Achieve Affordability Criteria

A. Complete feasibility-level design and provide construction and operations costs certainty.

B. Complete final design, value engineering, and risk management plan.

C. Complete construction and operational commissioning.


Strengthen the Organization as Owner of a $3.5 Billion Project

A. Delegate decision responsibilities and clarify working relationships to secure project approvals and agreements.

B. Develop and define the organizational culture, values, and management approaches.

C. Develop governance structures and staffing plans for future phases.