COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) — Part of California’s $7.5 billion water plan approved by legislators on Wednesday will go into building a reservoir in Colusa County discussed since the 1950s.
Some neighbors are embracing the plan to submerge 14,000 acres of rolling hills 20 miles west of Colusa for the proposed Sites Reservoir.
“Revenue, money, water, resources. Bring land value up. There is a lot of good reasons for it,” said Donald Carter.
The bond would cover half of the $4 billion project that Glenn County Supervisor Leigh McDaniel says will help everyone involved.
“It would enhance water reliability for cities, for agriculture, for industry and for the environment,” McDaniel said.
It won’t be easy or cheap. A stream does not flow into the valley, so three pumping stations along the Sacramento River would transfer water to the reservoir. McDaniel claims they would only take water during surplus years.
“We are catching flood water and waters that otherwise would be lost into the ocean,” McDaniel said.
But water advocate Steve Evans questions the plan, saying too much water taken out of the river will endanger salmon runs and other wildlife.
“The portion of the river that would be impacted upstream happens to be one of our healthiest rivers,” he said.
Evans also has an issue with the overall price tag. He says the cost to help a small portion of California is too high.
“Why shouldn’t the people who will directly benefit from these reservoirs, get water from these reservoirs, pay for them instead?”
McDaniel argues that each reservoir built will help the state’s entire water system—saving here would mean more water elsewhere.
“We know it’s in Northern California but it’s for the entire state,” he said.
If the bond is approved by voters in November, it would take nearly a decade before the reservoir is filled and ready for use. It would hold nearly double the amount of water in Folsom Lake.