85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005
Progress in Operational Integrated Forecast and Management of Northern California Water Resources: Hourly to Seasonal Time Scales
Konstantine P. Georgakakos, Hydrologic Research Center and SIO/Univ. Of California, San Diego, CA; and N. E. Graham, A. P. Georgakakos, H. Yao, E. Shamir, S. V. Taylor, and T. M. Carpenter
The Integrated Forecast and Reservoir Management (INFORM) Project was conceived to demonstrate increased water-use efficiency in Northern California water resources operations through the innovative application of climate, hydrologic and decision science. Toward achieving this goal, the particular objectives of INFORM are to (a) implement a prototype integrated forecast-management system for the primary Northern California reservoirs, both for individual reservoirs as well as system-wise; and (b) demonstrate the utility of climate and hydrologic forecasts through near-real-time tests of the integrated system with actual data and management input, by comparing its economic and other benefits accruing from current management practices for the same hydrologic events. The project is a joint effort of the Hydrologic Research Center (HRC), a public-benefit research and technology transfer corporation in San Diego, California, and the Georgia Water Resources Institute (GWRI), a federally mandated research institute at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. HRC is the lead organization for the forecast components of INFORM and GWRI is the lead organization for the reservoir management components of INFORM. Close collaboration between HRC and GWRI, and between these organizations and operational forecast and management agencies has been established to allow effective integration of system components and to pave the way for its use in Northern California operations.

Although the integrated system being developed is prototype and contains components that are products of recent and on-going research by both developing organizations, the INFORM project is primarily a demonstration project with significant resources devoted to the implementation of the system in a near operational environment through collaborative work with forecast and management agencies. Key operational agencies for the implementation of the demonstration project are the U.S. National Weather Service California-Nevada River Forecast Center, the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Central Valley Operations, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other agencies and regional stakeholders are contributing through active participation in project workshops and, indirectly, through comments and suggestions conveyed to the INFORM Oversight and Implementation Committee (OIC). The INFORM OIC consists of representatives from funding agencies, from forecast and management agencies with a mandate pertinent to Northern California operations, and from the developing organizations (HRC and GWRI). The OIC purpose is to provide independent review of the development and demonstration activities, to guide the INFORM project activities toward meeting the stated project goals, and to facilitate implementation of the integrated system components in a near-operational environment. An INFORM Core Office was established at HRC that serves as the information dissemination conduit for project activities.

The technical basis of INFORM is an integrated modeling system with the following components: (a)large-scale ensemble climate weather forecasting and assimilation; (b)downscaling of surface ensemble forecasts for the watersheds of interest; (c)generation of ensemble reservoir inflow forecasts based on hydrologic modeling of snow accumulation and melt and surface and subsurface water transport in watersheds upstream and downstream of the main reservoirs; (d)generation of dynamic reservoir regulation policies and tradeoffs accounting for forecast uncertainty and all applicable water uses; and (e)forecast and policy evaluation by assessing the economic benefits for each site and for the system as a whole.

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