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Flood Management

Delta Flood Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Program

Facilities Improvement Project


Program Manager:
John Paasch
Flood Operations Branch Chief
(916) 574-2611

Project Manager:
Zachary Jojola
Regional Flood Preparedness
(916) 574-0381

Delta Flood Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Program

The Delta Flood Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Program (Delta ER Program) was established by the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006, which made $135 million available to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for essential emergency preparedness supplies and projects. The Legislature recognized the vital role that the Delta plays in California’s water supply and the effects that a major flood event could have on that supply.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Protect the lives, property, and infrastructure critical to the functioning of both the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta and California.
  • Protect water quality and restore water supply for both Delta and export water users.
  • Reduce the recovery time of California's water supply from catastrophic flood to less than six months.
  • Minimize impacts on environmental resources.

Partners Working Together

The intent of this effort is to have a coordinated and effective multi-agency response during a large-scale Delta flood emergency where DWR works in concert with the other local, State, and federal flood emergency agencies within the Delta. DWR’s Hydrology and Flood Operations Office (HAFOO) staff regularly engages other DWR staff, as well as Delta partners and State Water Project contractors, to develop these Delta Flood Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Program (Delta ER Program) components:

  • Analysis and evaluation tools
  • Informative studies
  • Emergency response facilities
  • The DWR-wide Delta Emergency action plan

The following agencies are involved in developing the Delta ER components:

Local and Regional Stakeholders State Federal
Five County Operation Area Managers Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Local Reclamation Districts and Levee Districts Central Valley Flood Protection Board(CVFPB) California-Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC)
Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
State Water Contractors, Public Utilities California Coast Guard (CCG) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
State Parks and Recreation US Bureau of Reclamation
Delta Protection Commission DWR: Operations and Maintenance (O&M), Executive National Guard

Delta Working Group

In an effort to develop multi-agency coordination, particularly between agencies regarding the Delta and emergency response responsibilities, the Delta Working Group was created as an activity under the Multi-Agency Coordination component of the Delta ER Program. Quarterly meetings are held throughout the Delta region with the five Delta counties, CalOES, and DWR as lead participants to coordinate planning activities and to understand the different roles and responsibilities during a catastrophic flood event in the Delta.

Senate Bill 27 Task Force

As directed by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Emergency Preparedness Act of 2008 (SB 27), specific recommendations and strategies for emergency preparedness and response were developed for the Governor and Legislature. The report was completed in January 2012. Support and implementation of the report's recommendations is ongoing.

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Analyses and Evaluation Tools

HAFOO is developing the in-house capability to model water quality and delivery impacts of emergency response actions following Delta levee failures. This effort utilizes the Delta Emergency Response Tool (ERT) which consists of the Emergency Response and Recovery module (ERR) and the Water Analysis Module (WAM) used previously for the Delta Risk Management Strategy (DRMS). The ERR models emergency response and recovery actions in a "damaged" Delta. The WAM takes the output from the ERR and models the water quality response to the emergency response and recovery actions. A Delta ERT interactive workshop was held October 20, 2016, and included participants from HAFOO, Delta Levees Office, Bay-Delta Office, State Water Project’s (SWP) Operations Control Office , and the US Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Operations Office. HAFOO is using the Delta ERT to evaluate the expected impacts and optimal responses for potential flooded-Island scenarios.

Delta Flood ER Studies

The Delta ER Program components are supported through the following studies:

Jones Tract Case Study

This study will provide background to guide the development of policies that clarify DWR’s role and level of involvement in multi-stakeholder emergency response and recovery efforts on non-project levees in the Delta. The study was released for review in May of 2013.

Delta Emergency Channel Closure Locations Study

This study evaluated the site conditions, material quantities, and construction costs of potential barriers installed during flood emergencies. This feasibility study did not determine when barriers would be implemented, but describes costs and schedules for the alternatives. The study was completed in April 2012.

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Emergency Response Facilities

As an expansion of the Delta Emergency Rock and Transfer Facilities Project in 2007, the purpose of the Facilities Implementation Component of the Delta ER Program is to provide DWR with the physical resources to quickly respond to and recover from catastrophic levee failures in the Delta. Major activities and projects of this effort include:

  • Site acquisition and construction
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Operational readiness
  • Flood fight materials and supplies
Site Acquisition and Construction

Two locations were acquired to store Delta ER Program materials and supplies. They include CVFPB land at Rio Vista and private land near the Port of Stockton. Site improvements at the Rio Vista location were completed in 2016 while the Stockton site is currently under construction through 2018. Once completed, the facilities will be utilized during flood-related emergencies to access materials and also act as a staging area for DWR emergency responders and Incident Command Teams.

Environmental Impact Assessments

An initial study assessed the impacts of the project on the Delta. In general, the project’s impacts are less than significant with mitigation measures incorporated.

Operational Readiness

Stand-by contracts are being developed to ensure contractor resources are readily available to aid in response and recovery from Delta flood emergencies. These contracts will secure a variety of services including breach stabilization and closure, levee slope armoring, construction materials and flood fight supplies furnishing, barge operation, and facility operation.

Flood Fight Materials

DWR continues to purchase and store flood fight supplies at several locations in the Delta region. Currently in stock are 1,380,500 sandbags, 4,920 rolls of plastic, 800 cases of twine, 90,910 stakes, 128,400 buttons, and 12 roll-off containers that can be transported wherever needed.

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DWR's Emergency Management Plan

When released in spring 2017, the Delta Flood Emergency Management Plan will describe the preparedness, response, and recovery actions that DWR would take for Delta flood emergencies ranging from complex, multiple-failure incidents affecting many Delta islands to an isolated, one-island incident. The plan will prescribe DWR’s concept of operations for Delta flood emergencies and describe the roles and responsibilities of DWR’s organizations under the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS); these organizations include the Flood Operations Center (FOC), the SWP Operations Control Office Emergency Operations Center (OCO EOC), and the Department Operations Center (DOC). The plan will support DWR’s emergency preparedness efforts in the Delta, describe DWR’s actions during flood emergency response, and guide DWR’s flood emergency managers in making critical decisions during recovery. DWR had planned to release the report in 2015; however, it has been delayed so the authors can incorporate recommendations resulting from an internal exercise of the draft plan, as well as ways DWR can use decision support models to optimize emergency response.

Local Preparedness Support

Two types of grant programs specific to the Delta are being offered to improve local emergency response capabilities, including enhancing local emergency response plans, stockpiling flood fight materials and equipment, training and exercises, and making critical improvements. In 2013 DWR awarded $5 million for the Delta Communications Grant to the five Delta counties and Bethel Island. The first round of Delta ER grants were awarded in 2014 in the amount of $5 million with an additional $15 million to be awarded by 2017 depending on future needs.

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