Reclamation Releases Draft Appraisal Report on Expansion of San Luis Reservoir in the San Joaquin Valley

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Reclamation has released a report that details the methods and costs of increasing the storage capacity of San Luis Reservoir, while also addressing seismic risks under B.F. Sisk Dam, which would improve the reliability of water supplied by the Central Valley Project.

The Bureau of Reclamation has released a report that details the methods and costs of increasing the storage capacity of San Luis Reservoir, while also addressing seismic risks under B.F. Sisk Dam, which would improve the reliability of water supplied by the Central Valley Project. Reclamation will be taking comments on the report through Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.

Reclamation’s Draft Appraisal Report estimates that it would cost $360 million to raise the dam by 20 feet and expand the reservoir by 130,000 acre-feet. The project would include raising the dam embankment and dikes, spillway, intake towers and access bridge.

The CVP delivers water to farms, cities and wildlife refuges in the San Joaquin Valley and to urban users in the southern San Francisco Bay Area. Pumps at the southern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta convey water through the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct. Some of the water is diverted to San Luis Reservoir, on the eastern side of the Coast Range near Los Banos, where it is stored for later use.

The expansion project would also address seismic risks under the dam, regulatory constraints on operation of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water export facilities, algae blooms at low water levels and climate change that would reduce the reliability of water delivery. The possibility of raising the dam was considered in 2001 as an alternative for dealing with water delivery reliability risks associated with algae blooms and low reservoir levels. The alternative was dropped from the study because more cost-effective solutions seemed available at that time.

The Draft Appraisal Report recommends that Reclamation further explore opportunities for enlarging the dam, with its partners, the State Department of Water Resources, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The report may be viewed online at: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/sllpp. The report may also be viewed at Reclamation’s Regional Library, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, by calling 916-978-5593.

Please submit comments on the Draft Appraisal Report by close of business on Friday, Jan. 17, to William Aley, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825, or email waley(at)usbr(dot)gov, or fax 916-978-5094. For additional information, please call Aley at 916-978-5075 (TTY 1-800-877-8339).

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