A bill authored by Republican Doug LaMalfa and Democrat John Garamendi would fund a feasibility study and, depending on the results, authorize construction of a new reservoir. LaMalfa says the lake would be created by flooding Sites Valley west of Maxwell.
"It's surrounded on pretty much all sides by hills and small mountains. It has a couple of passes there. You would put a dam in one main pass to block water from exiting and a couple little saddle dams where there are some humps."
About a dozen people live in the valley. They are divided over the project. Some like Jackie Kerhoulas have been hearing about it for decades.
"If we'd use it for what we say we're going to use it for, fine," Kerhoulas says. "But they'll send it down to Los Angeles so they can each have a swimming pool in their backyard and fill it every day if they want to."
Early estimates for the project are a cost of three-to-four billion dollars and a construction time of five years to complete.
About a dozen people would be displaced by the project.
Garamendi says if the project is found to be feasible, the bill would authorize construction of a reservoir that would hold nearly two million acre feet of water.
The Garamendi hopes the bill will be voted on sometime this fall.
"That will give the kind of flexibility for agricultural purposes, for water in the river," Garamendi says. "And it also allows the Shasta and Oroville and Folsom reservoirs to be re-operated so that you're actually creating more water capacity, storage capacity in those reservoirs."
California is experiencing one of its wettest winters in years. But farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley still won’t receive a full supply of water from the federal Central Valley Project.
Some farmers who rely on water from the federal Central Valley Project may receive more water than they’ve had in several years. Others will have to wait until mid-March to find out what their allocations will be.
The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has voted to continue its drought emergency while other counties are looking at lifting conservation measures.
A UC Santa Cruz study finds transmission of West Nile virus is higher in drought years.
Today's Sierra snowpack survey has scientists with the California Department of Water Resources optimistic about the state's water supply.