Upstream Storage Enhancements
Optimizing Upstream Reservoirs for Flood and Drought
The Regional Water Authority and local water providers are partnering with the Sacramento Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) to harness the power of advanced weather and runoff forecasting known as American River Watershed Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operation (Watershed FIRO) to optimize flood storage at three upstream reservoirs: Hell Hole Reservoir and French Meadows, operated by the Placer County Water Agency, and Union Valley Reservoir, operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
FIRO is an innovative approach that leverages cutting-edge weather forecasting and real-time data to make informed decisions about reservoir operations. By considering forecasted precipitation, snowpack moisture content, and other relevant factors, water managers can optimize water releases and storage to effectively manage flood risks.
This approach creates a network of reservoirs that are strategically optimized for both drought and flood scenarios, thereby reducing pressure on Folsom Reservoir and downstream levees for flood control. Additionally, it allows for increased river flows to support the environment and enables the redirection of flood flows for groundwater recharge.
With changing climate patterns, such as increased rainfall and earlier snowmelt runoff, using FIRO at upstream reservoirs is a vital strategy.