Climate Change and Flood Control Operations in the Sacramento Basin

TitleClimate Change and Flood Control Operations in the Sacramento Basin
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2008
AuthorsFissekis, A., Lund J., Townsley S., Brekke L., Fickensher P., and Faber B.
Conference Name76th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 76th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2008
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationHood River, OR
KeywordsClimate change, flood control, rule curves, runoff timing, CNRFC

Shasta, Oroville and New Bullards Bar reservoirs are being studied to determine how Northern California's flood control projects respond to climate changed inflows. The goal of this project is to identify why flood control curves should be based on data-gathering and technological improvements that have occurred since the curves were created in the mid-1900s. In collaboration with the Institute for Water Resources, the Bureau of Reclamation, the California-Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) and the Hydrologic Engineering Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using climate projections for the year 2030 to test how flood control rule curves respond to changes in timing and magnitude. Preliminary research indicates that both temperature and precipitation changes will occur during that period and that they will alter historically observed flows. As California receives most precipitation between November and May, adapting to changes in peak flow timing and snowmelt runoff is not only crucial to reserve an adequate supply of water into the summer and fall, but also to ensure adequate flood storage.