A project called “RiverArc” is expected to improve water supplies and protect river flows in the greater Sacramento region — and it recently received a $5 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board to help fund its planning efforts.
RiverArc will divert water from the Sacramento River north of downtown Sacramento to partnering water agencies, including the County and City of Sacramento, Placer County Water Agency and California American Water.
“This funding will help maintain the current streamflow on the Lower American River — a designated ‘Wild & Scenic River‘ — by strategically shifting water supply diversions to the much larger Sacramento River,” said a recent press release from the project.
According to project staff, balancing water supplies from the Sacramento and American rivers would allow the region more flexibility and resiliency.
About 75 percent of Sacramento-area water agencies rely on the American River watershed as their only water source.
In addition, a 2022 study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation demonstrated how climate change increasingly threatens the Lower American River and the river’s significance to the regional environment, recreation and water supply.
The project is scheduled to build new pipelines and a water treatment facility by 2030, which could cost up to $290 million and produce 40 million gallons of water per day in its beginning phases.
Future phases of the project are being planned into 2050, which could increase water production according to growth needs of the Sacramento region.