Feds OK plans for major expansion of San Luis Reservoir

The Federal bipartisan infrastructure law and the WIIN Act have combined to fund a major expansion of San Luis Reservoir.

California is getting its first major water storage project in a dozen years, expanding an existing reservoir through federal funding. 

Friday, the Department of the Interior and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority improved plans to implement the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. 


The big picture: The project will create an additional 130,000 acre-feet of storage space in the San Luis Reservoir. 

  • Once completed, it is expected to deliver additional water for two million people, over one million acres of farmland and 135,000 acres of Pacific Flyway wetlands. 
  • It’s the first major water storage project in California since 2011. 
  • $95 million of the project’s cost from the 2021 infrastructure law as well as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. 
  • The infrastructure law previously provided over $100 million to increase the dam crest by 130 feet to improve seismic safety. The new project will add an additional 10 feet for water storage expansion. 
  • Spanning over three miles long, the Sisk Dam is located about 12 miles west of Los Banos and stands 382 feet high. 

What they’re saying: “San Luis Reservoir has served as the hub of California’s water system south of the Sacramento San Joaquin Bay-Delta since its completion in 1967,” said Sai Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board Chair Cannon Michael. “The ability to capture more water in the years it is available, particularly given California’s changing climate, is a critical component of a more secure future for the communities, farms and wildlife dependent on the Central Valley Project for their water supply. We value our partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and look forward to the completion of this vital water storage project.”

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