Funding to benefit regional water supply improvements and protection of critical bird populations
Expansion will increase capacity by 115,000 acre-feet, cost about $1.25 billion
The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project Joint Powers Authority today (July 27, 2023) was notified that it will receive $10 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. The funding will be used to further the project’s goals of improving Bay Area and Central Valley water supply and supporting wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway, a vital migratory route for critical bird populations.
According to the National Audubon Society, each year at least one billion birds migrate along the flyway, which is only a fraction of those that used it a century ago. Wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway provide protection against habitat loss, water shortages, diminishing food sources and climate change.
Additionally, the expansion will increase the Los Vaqueros Reservoir capacity from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet and add new and modified conveyance facilities to provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits.
The dam will be increased by 55 feet from its current height of 226 feet to 281 feet from toe to crest.
“We are grateful to Reclamation for acknowledging the importance of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project and the role it will play in providing water supply reliability for 11 million customers and protection of critical bird populations from the Bay Area to the Central Valley,” said Board Chair Angela Ramirez Holmes. “Our partnership with Reclamation is invaluable and will help ensure quality of life now and for future generations.”
The $10 million allocation today is authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, approved by Congress in November 2021, and is in addition to a previously awarded $164 million from all federal sources for the reservoir expansion project. The project was previously authorized for federal funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016.
According to the project Fact Sheet, the total development and construction cost of the expansion is budgeted at approximately $980 million in 2022 dollars and $1.25 billion in escalated costs through the end of construction. Construction is expected to last from 2023 through 2030.
“We appreciate the ongoing federal support of this project that is vital to millions of Californians and key wildlife refuges,” said Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Taryn Ravazzini. “The allocation of these funds marks another milestone and allows the LVR JPA and its members to continue our progress toward regional resilience.”
About the LVRJPA
The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was formed in 2021 and provides governance and administration for the Phase 2 Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project). The Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir owned and operated by the Contra Costa Water District.
The Project will increase Bay Area and Central Valley water supply reliability, develop water supplies for wildlife refuges, and improve water quality while protecting Delta fisheries and providing additional Delta ecosystem benefits. When completed, it will increase the Los Vaqueros Reservoir capacity from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet and add new and modified conveyance facilities to provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality, and recreational benefits.
Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.