The recent approval of the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project represents a significant improvement to California's water storage capabilities. This major project, approved as part of President Biden's "Investing in America" agenda, signifies the first major endorsement for water storage in California since 2011. Approved by the Department of the Interior and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, this pivotal project ushers in a new era for water storage in the state.
The B.F. Sisk Dam, located on the western side of the Central Valley, is currently a 382-foot high earthen embankment. Proposed construction involves a transformative 10-foot increase in its crest elevation. This strategic expansion, coupled with an ongoing seismic safety improvement project, is set to increase the San Luis Reservoir's water storage capacity by an additional 130,000 acre-feet. The implications of this expansion are profound, especially in meeting the water needs of over a million acres of farmland in the San Joaquin Valley.
“San Luis Reservoir has served as the hub of California’s water system south of the Sacramento San Joaquin Bay-Delta since its completion in 1967,” San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board Chair Cannon Michael said in a press release. “The ability to capture more water in the years it is available, particularly given California’s changing climate, is a critical component of a more secure future for the communities, farms and wildlife dependent on the Central Valley Project for their water supply. We value our partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and look forward to completion of this vital water storage project.”
The "Investing in America" agenda stands as the most substantial investment in climate resilience in our country's history. A financial allocation of $8.3 billion over a span of five years, from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is designated for critical water infrastructure projects, encompassing storage and conveyance, dam safety, water purification and reuse, and desalination. Notably, the B.F. Sisk Dam project has secured federal funding amounting to $95 million thus far.
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