Capitol Alert

Lawmakers tour location of proposed Sites Reservoir

The Sites Reservoir would flood land shown here west of Maxwell, Calif.
The Sites Reservoir would flood land shown here west of Maxwell, Calif.

As Northern California skies begin to clear, California lawmakers are using the storm that pelted the region over the last week as a catalyst to talk about the state’s water management system.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, is leading a troupe of lawmakers today on a tour of the Sites Reservoir, a $4.4 billion proposed water storage project four decades in the making.

Unlike most of California’s reservoirs, Sites would be off-stream and collect water from the Sacramento River via a 14-mile pipeline. Backers of the project say Sites could add 500,000 acre-feet of water to the state’s system per year, which Gallagher says is enough to serve 1.2 million families.

The project may have gotten a boost last month when President Barack Obama signed a long-contested water bill that included funding for water storage projects in the west.

Sites’ funding, at least in part, may also be tied to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels. Sacramento Valley irrigation districts intend to fund Sites and were appealing to the state for additional support through Proposition 1. Backers were also tapping water agencies outside the Sacramento Valley for support, but some of those agencies may be unlikely to invest until Brown’s tunnel project moves forward ensuring the water can reach their districts south of the Delta.

Gallagher and a dozen other lawmakers will begin their tour of the site, located in Maxwell, at 10:30 a.m.

WORTH REPEATING: “We can’t miss this opportunity.”

– House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, urging federal officials to maintain maximum water pumping to the Central Valley and Southern California

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HOOVER INSTITUTION: McCarthy will speak about regulatory reform and the economy at the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C. at 8:30 a.m. this morning. McCarthy’s talk comes days after Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, sent the congressman a letter asking him to consider the health and economic implications of repealing Obamacare without an immediate and viable replacement system.

TALKS: Gov. Jerry Brown will begin the day with a speech at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Legislative Black Caucus. The Caucus is expected to honor five members of the Capitol community with awards for government service, community activism, diversity and civil rights leadership during the breakfast, which begins at 8 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center. Later in the day, Brown’s director of Finance, Michael Cohen, will speak at a California Chamber of Commerce luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at 1215 K Street.

TAHOE BOUND: Kevin de León is giving the keynote speech at Tahoe South’s Operation Sierra Storm Meteorologist Conference at the Harveys Lake Tahoe Convention Center this morning. The Los Angeles Democrat will discuss California’s leadership in climate change regulations and Donald Trump’s potential impacts on environmental policy and funding. The conference begins at 8 a.m., and de León is expected to take the stage at 9:15 a.m.

REGULATORS, MOUNT UP: Rap legend Warren G will perform this evening at the annual Back to Session Bash, sponsored by the California Tribal Business Alliance, Capitol Weekly and a slew of other interests. Organizers expect the party at The Park to draw 1,500 guests, including legislators, Capitol staff, lobbyists, lawyers and politicos from all sides of the aisle.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna