California water district planning $1B reservoir expansion
California – Contra Costa Water District’s $1 billion plan to expand the Los Vaqueros Reservoir by raising the dam’s height by 56 feet recently earned approval for $470.47 million in Proposition 1 state funding.
The project would add 115,000 acre feet of storage by enlarging the existing off-stream reservoir in southeastern Contra Costa County from 160,000 to 275,000 acre feet. It would deliver water to agencies within the water district’s service area, the Bay Area, the Delta, neighboring regions, and south-of-Delta wildlife refuges. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2023.
Public benefits of the project include preserving the ecosystem near San Francisco, improving emergency response, and enhancing recreational amenities.
Los Vaqueros Reservoir is one of two projects in the state’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) deemed by the California Water Commission to have met statutory deadlines to remain eligible for program funding.
The Harvest Water Program is a $373 million conjunctive use project that would supply up to 50,000 acre feet of tertiary treated wastewater per year to irrigate up to 16,000 acres of agriculture and habitat lands in Sacramento County near the lower Cosumnes River and Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The program is scheduled to begin operation in mid-2024.
Two more projects – the Chino Basin Program and Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project – are expected to come before the Commission for feasibility determinations in November, with the remaining three WSIP projects – Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project, Sites Project, and Willow Springs Water Bank Conjunctive Use Project – scheduled for December.
Upon completion, the projects would add a combined 2.77 million acre feet to California’s water storage capacity.