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Online extra: Questions and answers about Los Vaqueros

Issue Date: June 28, 2017

Q: Once complete, how would the proposed Los Vaqueros Dam and Reservoir operate? How would water be distributed and moved in and out of the project?

  • The project would broaden the sources of water diverted and stored in Los Vaqueros Reservoir to include State Water Project supplies and water supplies from other sources via existing or future interties on behalf of agencies partnering in the project. Existing infrastructure allows Contra Costa Water District to move water from the delta to Los Vaqueros or to the Contra Costa Canal, which delivers water throughout their service area.  Through the proposed expansion of Los Vaqueros and addition of a new facilities, CCWD would have the operational flexibility to store and transfer water to south of the delta CVP contractors, wildlife refuges and local partners in the Bay Area.

Q: What construction is necessary to complete Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion?

  • The proposed Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion involves construction to raise the height of the existing, off-stream reservoir to expand total capacity to store up to 275,000 acre-feet of water. The project also includes the construction of an eight-mile pipeline that would connect the Los Vaqueros Reservoir system to the California Aqueduct at Bethany Reservoir (the Transfer-Bethany Pipeline). Additional work on existing pipelines and pump stations is necessary to expand the capacity. 

Q: If Proposition 1 funding becomes available, when might construction begin? When might the project be completed?

  • CCWD is working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and local partners to evaluate project alternatives, facilities and operations. Upcoming key milestones include completion of the Draft Supplement to the Final EIS/EIR, a funding application due to the California Water Commission in August, and completion of the Final Federal Feasibility Report in November 2018. Construction could being as early as 2021. Construction can be phased to allow some facilities to go into operation while work on others is completed.

Q: How many agencies have signed the memorandum of understanding to potentially partner in the project, and who are they?

  • The memorandum of understanding that involves agencies and districts that have shown interest as a potential partner in the Los Vaqueros expansion and supporting the state funding application include the following: 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 (wildlife refuges), Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority, Zone 7 Water Agency and the Contra Costa Water District. 

Q: How would federal legislation affect the project's construction?

  • While federal legislation is not needed to proceed with the expansion, federal funding for wildlife refuge water will be necessary to purchase and transfer Incremental Level 4 water to CVP contractors south of the delta.  

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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