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Governor Newsom Streamlines Major Water Storage Project

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Governor Newsom utilized the new infrastructure streamlining law to accelerate Sites Reservoir project and avoid months or even years of CEQA litigation delays, which could store enough water for 3 million households’ yearly usage.

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom took action to accelerate the Sites Reservoir project, utilizing new tools from the infrastructure streamlining package to build more faster. This project, if ultimately approved, would capture water during wet seasons and store it for use during drier seasons – holding up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water, enough for 3 million households’ yearly usage.

The project has received a total of $46.75 million in early funding from the state. In all, Sites is eligible for $875.4 million of Proposition 1 funding. Total project cost is estimated at $4 billion.

HOW IT WORKS:

  • SB 149 allows the Governor to certify qualifying infrastructure projects for judicial streamlining under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Courts must decide CEQA challenges to certified projects within 270 days to the extent feasible – saving months or even years of litigation delays after a project has already passed environmental review, while still allowing legal challenges to be heard.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:

  • Just last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Sites Project Authority finalized the Environmental Impact Review and Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
  • The project will help California maintain a resilient water supply in the face of climate change, weather extremes, and water scarcity.
  • Sites Reservoir is critical to California’s ​​Water Supply Strategy and meeting our goal of expanding above and below ground water storage capacity by 4 million acre feet.

We’re cutting red tape to build more faster.

These are projects that will address our state’s biggest challenges faster, and the Sites Reservoir is fully representative of that goal – making sure Californians have access to clean drinking water and making sure we’re more resilient against future droughts.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

HOW WE GOT HERE:

  • In July, Governor Newsom signed into law a package of bills to accelerate critical infrastructure projects across California that will help build our 100% clean electric grid, ensure safe drinking water and boost the state’s water supply, and modernize our transportation system.
  • By streamlining permitting, cutting red tape, and allowing state agencies to use new project delivery methods, these new laws will maximize taxpayer dollars and accelerate timelines of projects throughout the state, while ensuring appropriate environmental review and community engagement.
  • The package will take full advantage of an unprecedented $180 billion in state, local, and federal infrastructure funds over the next ten years while creating an estimated 400,000 good-paying jobs.