Sites Reservoir Phase 1
As proposed, Sites Reservoir is a new off-stream reservoir to be located 75 miles northwest of Sacramento and was identified as a possible source of additional water supplies as well as providing additional storage for Zone 7. With approval from the Board of Directors, Zone 7 staff successfully executed an agreement with the Sites Project Authority to participate in the project. Zone 7 has currently been assigned 12,570 AF of Class 1 water and 8,620 AF of Class 2 water. Class 1 water represents 50% of the reservoir’s expected yield (250,000 AF out of 500,000 AF total yield annually). Class 2 water represents the remaining expected yield, which is currently reserved for “public benefit” environmental uses, but may become available at a later time depending on the state’s level of participation.
Phase 1 of Sites Reservoir planning is focused on preparing the Proposition 1 grant funding application, the Draft EIR/EIS and the Draft Federal Feasibility Report in order to secure Proposition 1 grant funding. The Sites team continues to work closely with DWR to identify and quantify public benefits for the purposes of meeting the eligibility criteria for the Proposition 1 funding but work is on track to complete the application in June 2017 (well ahead of the August 14 deadline). An Administrative Draft EIR/EIS is planned for release in April 2017. House Resolution 1269 (Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act) was introduced to the United States House of Representatives in early March 2017 to support Sites Reservoir and to tie the schedule of the Federal Feasibility Report to the Proposition 1 application schedule.
Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project Planning
In 2016, the WSE Update identified Los Vaqueros Reservoir in a list of facilities that could reduce risk of water supply shortage to Zone 7 as well as facilitate a regional desalination project by adding relatively local storage capacity. Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), with participation from Zone 7 and several other water agencies, is in the planning process to increase the reservoir’s current 160,000 AF capacity up to 275,000 AF and would include a regional intertie (Transfer-Bethany Pipeline) and improved pump stations and pipelines. The project is in the process of completing the necessary documents and developing the application for Proposition 1 funding which is due August 14, 2017. Proposition 1 stipulates that in order to be eligible for funding, storage projects must provide a public benefit. The Los Vaqueros Expansion Project would provide up to 120,000 AF of water per year to wildlife refuges, thus meeting this eligibility criteria.
A Public Draft Federal Feasibility Report is expected in the Fall of 2017. Zone 7 will continue to support the development of this documents as well as the preparation of the Proposition 1 grant funding application.
Lake Del Valle Storage Expansion
The Lake Del Valle Storage Expansion investigative studies included preparation of several preliminary draft reports to assess the feasibility of modifying operations of Lake Del Valle such that more water could be drawn out of the lake, thus increasing the available water supply. The result of those preliminary reports showed that while technically feasible, it would require tremendous coordination with DWR and the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) to make the necessary modifications. The project would require additional feasibility studies to assess potential water quality and flood control impacts, full and eager participation from DWR and EBRPD, and grant funding such as from Proposition 1 (Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014) for the project to move forward. The grant process for Proposition 1 funding is highly competitive, with other projects much farther along in the planning and environmental review process still seeking funding, and could cost Zone 7 upwards of $300,000 to prepare. Given the competition for funding, Zone 7 would be unlikely to be awarded funding. After weighing the potential costs, benefits, and risk, Zone 7 staff and the Board of Directors decided not to move forward with seeking Proposition 1 funding at this time. Of course, this project could be pursued at a later date should there be interest from DWR and EBRPD and other funding opportunities become available.