One of the wettest years in California history that ended a record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage to be built above and below ground.
In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they are needed.
The company that built one of greater Sacramento’s most important flood-control projects in years will fix the damaged spillways at Oroville Dam, site of a near catastrophe two months ago. … Kiewit has considerable experience with dam projects, including the decadelong, $900 million upgrade of Folsom Dam.
Twelve years ago, widespread destruction from Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast helped compel federal engineers 2,000 miles away in California to remake a 1950s-era dam by constructing a massive steel-and-concrete gutter that would manage surging waters in times of torrential storms.
The critical document that determines how much space should be left in Lake Oroville for flood control during the rainy season hasn’t been updated since 1970, and it uses climatological data and runoff projections so old they don’t account for two of the biggest floods ever to strike the region. … Most recently, the issue of outdated dam manuals came up in the context of California’s five-year drought.
As a test run at the Oroville Dam spillway commenced Wednesday afternoon, the director of the Department of Water Resources said at a press conference in Sacramento he expected the bottom of the spillway to be eroded away by spring, with a replacement completed by fall.
Northern California is on track to break rainfall records. … But you wouldn’t know the region has experienced an exceptionally wet winter looking at the steep, dry shores ringing the Sacramento region’s largest reservoir, Folsom Lake.
Despite its dramatic rise from a record-low level last fall, water managers said Tuesday that Folsom Lake will likely not fill to capacity this year. … Now, Reclamation officials are developing a plan for what could be a critical third year of salmon protection.
Even with unseasonably warm temperatures and little to no rain in the forecast for at least the next seven days, the operators of Folsom Dam are going to more than double the flows in the lower American River to protect against flooding.
Folsom — which dwindled to 14% of capacity last year and became a global image of the California drought — has more than tripled in size since December, thanks to a series of storms that has brought above-average snow and rainfall to Northern California.
California regulators set a minimum level of water that should be held behind Shasta and Folsom lakes Tuesday in an effort to avoid another catastrophic die-off of Sacramento River salmon, but they reserved the right to change the limit if El Niño rains fill up the reservoirs.
It’s shaping up as the biggest snowstorm to hit the central Sierra in two years. … After four years of drought, its reservoirs are dry: Folsom Lake last week hit its lowest point since record-keeping began 40 years ago.
It will take dozens of rain storms to alter the effects of California’s four-year drought. … With Folsom Lake now at just 15 percent of capacity, water experts are once again urging Californians to conserve.
Even as Sacramento waits for the soaking El Niño forecast to hit this fall, Folsom Lake continues to lose water and will almost certainly fall Thursday to its lowest level in more than 20 years, government data show.
Plastic pipes that will go over Folsom Dam and connect to pump barges were rolled out Thursday as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation continues to work on a temporary emergency floating pump system. … Currently, Folsom Lake is at 19 percent capacity and has dropped 3 feet this month.
Taxed by years of drought, the lake [Folsom Lake] is currently filled to 19 percent of its total capacity, with officials from the federal Bureau of Reclamation foreseeing it may yet drop below the 1977 record-low of 150 acre feet. Low water levels change more than the lake’s aesthetics.
More than 200,000 rainbow trout suffocated in a matter of minutes Tuesday at the American River Hatchery near Rancho Cordova due to an unexpected release of gunk from Folsom Dam that clogged water intakes.
As water regulators continue to rapidly drain Folsom Lake to bolster supplies downstream, crews have begun construction of a floating barge that could keep water flowing to the city of Folsom this fall. … At current outflows, Folsom Lake would reach record-low depths within weeks.
Four years of dry, hot weather have raised lake temperatures and depleted many of the state’s reservoirs. In response, the state has cut flows from Lake Shasta to protect an endangered species of salmon and raised flows from Folsom Lake to prevent salt water from intruding into the Delta.
Folsom Lake water levels will likely drop to historic lows by summer’s end, possibly hovering just above the point where cities and water agencies can still draw water from the reservoir, according to interviews with federal and local officials.
California’s drought has made it abundantly clear how important it is to know exactly how much water is available. … Scientists from the Desert Research Institute in Reno, the California Department of Water Resources and the US Bureau of Reclamation are placing a floating weather station in the water at Folsom Lake.
The Bureau of Reclamation has released the final environmental documents on a Safety of Dams project at Folsom Reservoir’s Dike 1 in the Granite Bay Recreation Area. The Dike 1 improvement modifications are being performed under Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program to address water seepage through the Dike 1 embankment.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.
30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern day issues.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the history of the project, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state, and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and manmade reservoirs and aqueducts - including federally, state and locally funded projects - the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.
Devastating floods are almost annual occurrence in the west and in California. With the anticipated sea level rise and other impacts of a changing climate, particularly heavy winter rains, flood management is increasingly critical in California. Compounding the issue are man-made flood hazards such as levee stability and stormwater runoff.