Two agencies partnering on a proposed West Side reservoir in the Patterson area will hold a community workshop on the project Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The Del Puerto Water District and San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Authority are proposing to build and operate the reservoir. The project will deliver water from the Delta-Mendota Canal to the reservoir, where it will be stored and released on a managed basis, according to a press release.

The reservoir would allow water to be delivered into storage during wetter periods and held until needed in drier times for irrigation, groundwater recharge or beneficial wildlife uses, the release stated.

Agricultural users of the stored water will pay for the project, and are actively seeking supplemental state and federal funding.

Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto district, and Chris White, executive director of the exchange contractors group, stressed during an October press briefing that the reservoir is essential in providing water agencies greater local control over their water supplies.

While the reservoir holds many potential benefits, Hansen said at the time, “primarily our goal here is to solve a storage problem. We believe that there is enough water available, but we don’t have the tools to manage that supply efficiently. That is what has brought this about.”

A reservoir would also allow greater control over the timing of water deliveries, and allow the agencies to store water during wet years for use during dry times, she added.

“We can provide more reliability to our customers so there are not these peaks and valleys of supply from year to year,” Hansen noted. “This helps our farmers with planting decisions, and with getting financing.”

White emphasized  during the October briefing that the reservoir would not increase pumping through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to south-of-the-delta users.

“This is not new water. This is taking water already coming south of the delta and managing it better,” he stated. “This does not affect delta operations. We are looking to manage our water supplies that have already been allocated in a way that is more protective of the local area.”

The proposed reservoir would encompass a surface area of 800 acres, and would involve a 200-foot high earthen dam at the mouth of the canyon, just west of Interstate 5, as well as three saddle dams. The dam would have a capacity of 85,000 acre-feet of water, and would be connected by a pipeline to the Delta-Mendota Canal, according to information presented at the October briefing.

Hansen said the upcoming workshop offers the public an opportunity to better understand the project before reviewing the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before its release in mid-December for a 45-day public comment period.

The community workshop will be held from 5:30 to approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Patterson Unified School District Professional Development Center, 530 Keystone Blvd, Patterson.

The workshop opens with informal time to review project exhibits and talk to project experts, followed by a brief project presentation, time for discussion, questions and answers and an overview of the environmental review process and next steps.

Interested community members may learn more by visiting the project website, www.delpuertocanyonreservoir.com.