by George Janczyn / Groksurf’s San Diego / Originally posted August 9, 2010
Many large reservoirs in California need to store and release water in a way that balances flood control needs against water supply needs (San Diego’s reservoirs have limited flood control capability but were mainly designed for storage). Those state reservoir levels need to be lowered in late summer and fall in order to have enough capacity to capture and hold floodwaters that will come during the wet season, but they also need to retain enough to supply needed water in the dry months.
“Reservoir rule curves” help manage when water should be released or held back.
Mountain snow is a factor in the timing and quantity of reservoir releases; the frozen snowpack serves as water storage that gradually melts and provides a predictable flow of water into the reservoirs.
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