Big new California reservoir on track for $2.2B federal loan

Adam Beam, Associated Press on March 17, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A long-delayed plan to build a giant reservoir in Northern California to help withstand the U.S. West’s notorious droughts got a huge financial boost on Thursday when the federal government signaled its intent to loan the project nearly $2.2 billion — about half of the cost to design, plan and build it.

The proposal would flood what's left of the town of Sites, a tiny community with just a handful of residents nestled in a valley of the coastal range mountains in rural Colusa County. The idea has been around since the 1950s, but there has never been enough money or political will to move it forward.

But now a megadrought caused by climate change that researchers say is the worst in 1,200 years has renewed interest in the project, and efforts to move the project forward are happening quickly. It is also in line to get about $875 million from a voter-approved bond, plus another $450 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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