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Flood Management

Reservoir Coordinated Operations


The Reservoir Coordinated Operations (RCO) Section is a member of the State-Federal flood forecasting team. This section collaborates with the National Weather Service's California-Nevada River Forecast Center and is responsible for monitoring storms, preparing river and reservoir inflow forecasts, and issuing flood bulletins. The RCO section supports the Hydrology and Flood Operations Office in performing hydrologic and hydraulic engineering studies and preparing Lake Oroville impaired runoff forecasts and Sacramento River depletions/accretions forecasts for the State Water Project.

The Department is developing and will implement a Forecast-Coordinated Operations (F-CO) program for the major reservoirs in the Central Valley to improve downstream flood protection without impacting the water supply of the upstream reservoirs. The F-CO program will allow operators to make controlled releases ahead of flood events allowing for more water supply storage during the flood control season, generally from October through April. Conserving storage is critical if the expected climate change impacts of higher snowlines, decreased snowpack, and earlier snowmelt are realized. This may include updates to applicable water control manuals, or flood control curves issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The F-CO program is considered one of the most cost-effective measures to improve flood control and is currently being implemented on the Yuba-Feather River system. Forecast-Coordinated Operations will help minimize the risk of exceeding river channel capacity and increase the warning times to communities along the major California rivers and downstream of flood control reservoirs through enhanced communication between local, state and federal agencies; improved data gathering and exchange; and utilization of the most recent advancements in weather and river forecasting.

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