At the end of November, the US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended a $450 million loan to the Sites Reservoir project in Colusa County, northwest of Sacramento, California.
The money will be used to build the 3.5-mile (5.6km) long, 12ft (3.65m) diameter, Maxwell Water Intertie (MWI) tunnel, and a new pump station, which will connect the existing Tehama Colusa Canal (TC Canal) and the existing Glenn Colusa Irrigation District’s (GCID) main canal, giving farmers on the west side of the Sacramento Valley more access to irrigation water, said Jim Watson, General Manager of the Sites Reservoir Authority.
The $449.2 million loan is the largest the agency has ever given, said Sarah Marquart, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Rural Development program. Money to repay the 40-year loan will come from rural and urban water users, Watson said.
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The Sites Authority, made up of 31 water agencies, is still going through the environmental studies necessary before the project can be built. Watson said the intertie should be complete by 2024.