Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Objectives
• Develop water supplies for environmental water management that supports fish protection, habitat management, and other environmental water needs.
• Increase water supply reliability for water providers within the San Francisco Bay Area, to help meet municipal and industrial water demands during drought periods and emergencies or to address shortages due to regulatory and environmental restrictions.
Expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir improves Bay Area water supply reliability and water quality while protecting Delta fisheries and providing additional Delta ecosystem benefits.
The proposed project will include a regional intertie (the Transfer-Bethany Pipeline), improved pump stations and pipelines and could increase the reservoir's capacity up to 275,000 acre-feet.
The proposed project builds upon the successful first phase of expansion from 100,000 to 160,000 acre-feet funded by the Contra Costa Water District and completed in 2012.
Los Vaqueros is one of the projects being evaluated in the context of a broader Bay Area effort to work collaboratively as a region to improve water supply reliability.
What Others Are Saying About Los Vaqueros Expansion
"Expanding Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an innovative project that embodies what the voters approved when they passed Proposition 1, including significant, well-defined public benefits for the environment."
George Miller, Member of Congress, Retired, Aug. 9, 2017
"Working to expand water supplies for California’s next drought, a coalition of 12 Bay Area water agencies took a significant step Monday toward an $800 million expansion of one of the largest reservoirs in the Bay Area — Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the rolling hills near the Alameda-Contra Costa county line."
San Jose Mercury News, July 3, 2017
"Additional flexibility for the water-supply system, water to benefit urban customers in the Bay Area, water for wetlands as well as for farmers and other water users south of the delta: Those are the reasons a dozen partners have joined in support of a proposed expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir."
"Millions of Bay Area residents could get extra drought insurance against water shortages and quality problems from a proposed $800 million expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir that may have up to 10 water suppliers as partners."
East Bay Times, November 5, 2016
"...this plan is amazingly simple. The height of the earthen dam would be raised by 51 feet to 269 feet. That would enable Los Vaqueros Reservoir to expand its capacity from 160,000 acre-feet of water to hold 275,000 acre-feet enough to serve 1.4 million residents on an annual basis."
San Jose Mercury News Editorial April 28, 2016
State and Federal Funding
The recent drought and passage of Proposition 1 have made it clear that there is broad interest for water storage projects in California. The competitive process to award state funding is coming together quickly, and the California Water Commission is planning to make initial funding awards in 2018.
Los Vaqueros is one of the original CALFED surface storage projects included in the CALFED Record of Decision (April 2000). Funding for initial studies was provided by both the California Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation.
The Bureau of Reclamation, the long-term federal partner on the project, is providing funding for the ongoing Federal Feasibility Study evaluating potential benefits for wildlife refuge supply, a high priority ecosystem need. CCWD is working with key federal legislators to ensure continued federal funding for completion of the feasibility work.
The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project aligns with state and federal storage objectives and the project has the potential to receive both state and federal funds for project implementation.
The Contra Costa Water District is working closely with a diverse group of local potential partners. These agencies are evaluating potential participation in the project to help strengthen their water supply portfolios to better manage droughts, emergencies, climate change and regulatory challenges that limit other supplies. All of these agencies, in addition to CCWD, are providing funding and in-kind services to support completion of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report and the California Water Commission funding application
Potential Local Partners:
- Alameda County Water District
- Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency
- Byron Bethany Irrigation District
- City of Brentwood
- East Bay Municipal Utility District
- East Contra Costa Irrigation District
- Grassland Water District
- Santa Clara Valley Water District
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority
- Zone 7 Water Agency
CCWD is working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the local potential partners to evaluate project alternatives, facilities and operations.
Upcoming key milestones include the public hearings on the Draft Supplement to the Final EIS/EIR in July 2017, a California Water Commission funding application in August 2017, and completion of the Draft Federal Feasibility Report in January 2018. Construction could begin as early as 2021.