Sites will help the state adapt to climate change by capturing and storing runoff supplies for use in dry and critical years. Between October 2015 and April 2016, over 1,000,000 acre-feet could have been diverted to Sites, filling 60% of its capacity in one year alone.
The project will also help recovering ecosystems by providing up to half of its annual water supplies to environmental flows, which will improve water quality for endangered fish, reduce salinity levels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), and improve Pacific Flyway habitat for migratory birds and other native species.
Sites would relieve stress on the state’s water system, allowing other reservoirs to hold more water later into the summer months. The added flexibility Sites offers would effectively increase the total storage in Northern California to more than 500,000 million acre-feet of water.
By creating a new source of water, and more flexibility in the system, Sites has the potential to help California succeed at implementing 21st century water solutions—to meet human AND environmental needs.
- Groundwater sustainability requires effective groundwater recharge. Sites can help store and then move water where and when it’s needed for recharge projects.
- Salmon need cold water to survive in the late summer and fall. If water for ag and Delta water quality came from Sites, cold water pools in Shasta and Oroville could be preserved.
- If Sites had been in place in 2016, about 500,000 acre-feet could have been captured and stored—a much-needed boost to overall state water supplies in the middle of our historic drought.
- Climate change is creating a new normal: less snow-pack and flashier rainfall. Sites is ideally located to maximize the capture and storage of rain.