California’s water storage dilemma

by on August 11, 2010 · 0 comments

in Economy, Energy, Environment, San Diego

SanVincente Res aug 2010 grok

San Vicente Reservoir August 2010. Water level is currently drawn down to allow dam raise construction. Most water in the reservoir is piped in through the San Diego Aqueduct, although it does receive some local runoff. Photo taken from a trail on the Oak Oasis Open Space Preserve. (Photo by George Janczyn.)

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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