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In this month’s inaugural meeting of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority, the eight water agencies that make up the authority selected its first leaders.

The Tri-Valley’s Zone 7 Water Agency board president Angela Ramirez Holmes was named the authority’s first chairperson. Anthea Hansen, the general manager of Stanislaus County’s Del Puerto Water District, was named vice-chairperson.

The authority was formed in October to oversee the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project. Los Vaqueros is an off-stream reservoir in East Contra Costa County, built by the Contra Costa Water District, that currently holds 160,000 acre-feet of water.

The project will expand the reservoir to a much-needed 275,000 acre-feet and add new conveyance facilities providing environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits.

The Los Vaqueros JPA will oversee design, construction, operation, maintenance, and funding of the project.

“This is an exciting and promising endeavor for all agencies involved as water supply reliability is foremost on our minds during the ongoing drought crisis,” Ramirez Holmes said in a statement. “The members of the JPA will bring their diverse perspectives based on who they represent, and we will work collaboratively to come to mutually beneficial decisions.”

The project has already been approved for $470 million from the state and recently earned an additional $50 million in federal appropriations.

The remainder of the project costs will be covered by additional federal appropriations and local partner contributions. The JPA will meet on a monthly basis.