DWR Study Finds Limited Value in Reoperating Existing System

  • by Teresa McGaffic
  • Aug 25, 2017
  • Water News

The California Department of Water Resources has released a report evaluating potential options for the reoperation of the state’s existing flood protection and water supply systems to provide increased benefits to water supply, ecosystem, and flood management.  It concludes that potential benefits are limited with the current system, but more significant benefits could be achieved with investment in new infrastructure.

The document, titled Assessment of Reoperation Strategies, reports Phase III of DWR’s System Reoperation Study. DWR defines system reoperation in the context of water resources as “changing the operational and management procedures of existing water system facilities to obtain water resources related benefits.”  The study examines potential opportunities to increase water supply reliability, flood protection and ecosystem enhancement.

Phase III focused on alternative reoperation strategies for Shasta Lake, Lake Oroville and Lake McClure, included  basing operations on five-day weather forecasts, managing reservoirs in closer alignment with groundwater storage (known as conjunctive use), and increasing river flows to benefit the ecosystem. The report also describes the potential benefits of operating the State Water Project and Central Valley Project as a single project, sharing storage and conveyance facilities.

DWR lists the following key findings of the study:

  • Reoperating Oroville, Shasta, and McClure individually would have limited benefits, mainly because the reservoirs and their associated projects already are significantly optimized to meet existing flood and regulatory requirements and contractual commitments.
  • Operating the SWP and CVP as a single project would provide incremental water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration benefits; combined average annual water deliveries could increase by 100-150 thousand acre-feet per year.
  • Reoperation benefits were evaluated under existing and new Delta conveyance, and under current and projected future climate conditions. Projected benefits of reoperation under these scenarios were similar.
  • Achieving additional benefits likely would require investment in new infrastructure.

More information is available at the following links:

System Reoperation Study Phase III Fact Sheet

System Reoperation Study Phase III Report

System Reoperation Study Overview

 

 

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