MAXWELL -- Two members of California's congressional delegation on Wednesday called for building a new reservoir north of Sacramento, displaying bipartisan agreement on one potential solution to California's long-term water problems.

Democratic Rep. John Garamendi and Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa held a news conference near the location of the proposed reservoir to announce their bill. It calls for accelerating an existing federal feasibility study to authorize construction of the Sites Reservoir in a valley near Maxwell, about an hour's drive north of the state capital. They hope construction can start by 2015.

The announcement came the same day a Congressional committee gathered in Fresno to address California's short-term and long-term water needs in the wake of a historic drought gripping the state.

Sites, considered for decades and studied since the 1990s, is the largest of the proposed reservoir projects being discussed for California, drawing Sacramento River water through canals instead of disrupting the river flow outright. With a storage capacity of 1.9 million acre feet, it would be about the same size as the San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos.

The congressmen said that in times of drought, the reservoir could be tapped for more than 1 million acre feet of water. That would be enough to supply San Francisco's population 10 times over, according to the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based nonprofit that focuses on water and environmental research. But earlier estimates from the state and federal government are much lower, ranging from about 200,000 to 600,000 acre feet.

In order to avoid congressional opposition to earmarks, the bill will not guarantee federal funding for the reservoir, which the lawmakers say will cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, although they said federal money could be available later. Likely sources of money are local water districts that will benefit from the reservoir.