The RiverArc Project
Protecting the American River
Folsom Lake is a critical part of California’s water delivery system. It’s used by federal water managers to balance environmental and water supply needs for the Sacramento region, Bay Delta and farms in the Central Valley. Folsom Lake feeds the Lower American River, which then flows 32 miles into the heart of Sacramento and the river’s confluence with the Sacramento River.
Abundant habitats along the Lower American River’s natural corridor support an incredible biodiversity of plants, wildlife, waterfowl and over 40 fish species. Sacramento County’s American River Parkway stretches along the river’s corridor and provides rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, bicycling and walking, making this the most heavily used recreation river in California. All these natural attributes make the Lower American River one of the only urban waterways in the United States to be designated a “Wild and Scenic River” by both state and federal governments.
Accelerating climate change impacts, growing populations and changes to environmental regulations have stretched California’s current water delivery system too thin. These effects are dramatically visible in the Sacramento region, where during drought years, increased pressure on the Lower American River leads to perilously low water levels in Folsom Lake.
Safeguarding the Lower American River
RiverArc benefits Folsom Reservoir and the Lower American River by shifting diversions to the Sacramento River to increase available flows in the Lower American River by up to 43,000 acre-feet annually. This will provide regional climate resiliency, reduce climate risks from drought and increasing temperatures, and conserve the Lower American River’s unique habitat and biodiversity.
RiverArc is a new way of thinking about water delivery. It will use an existing water diversion facility on the much larger Sacramento River. The Project will convey Sacramento River water, which has surplus water more frequently than the American River, inland through a new pipeline that will carry the water to a new water treatment plant to be treated for residential and commercial use.
A mix of existing and new transmission pipelines will distribute the water to most of Sacramento and West Placer counties, north of the American River. Along the way, RiverArc will also integrate groundwater and American River supplies that can be shared across the region.