(FOX40.COM) — Governor Newsom announced a big step forward Tuesday toward building a new reservoir in California.
Progress on the Sites Reservoir in Colusa and Glenn counties has been on hold for several years, but the governor certified the project for streamlining.
The Sites Reservoir, about 75 miles northwest of Sacramento, would store enough water to meet the annual needs of three million California households, according to Gov. Newsom’s office.
The state has already committed nearly $47 million if the reservoir gets built. Environmental challenges have been stalling the project.
But a senate bill, SB 149, allows the governor to fast-track infrastructure projects with the stroke of a pen.
This newly signed document from the governor’s office does just that.
It requires courts to decide environmental challenges to the Sites project within 270 days to the extent feasible.
The governor says it’s about cutting red tape and addressing the state’s biggest challenges faster.
“The Sites Reservoir is fully representative of that goal – making sure Californians have access to clean drinking water and making sure we’re more resilient against future droughts,” Gov. Newsom wrote in a statement.
Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey celebrated the signing of SB 149 as a rare moment of bipartisan progress in California.
“And we’re very very thankful,” Lackey said. “Better last than never. No, we’re excited about this. This is a big need that the people clearly need, and they deserve. And I’m very excited to see it actually taking place because it’s been a long time.”
The reservoir, which would divert some water from the Sacramento River is opposed by environmental groups including the Sierra Club, and still needs approval of the State Water Resources Control Board.
If the project moves forward, construction could begin in 2026.