Water Management Applications of Advanced Precipitation Products

CIRA Director's Conference Room
Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 16:00
Lynn E. Johnson
Hosted By: 

Advanced precipitation sensors and numerical models track storms as they occur and forecast the likelihood of heavy rain for time frames ranging from 1 to 8 hours, 1 day, and extended outlooks out to 3 to 7 days. Forecast skill decreases at the extended time frames but the outlooks have been shown to provide "situational awareness" which aids in preparation for flood mitigation and water control operations. In California the California-Nevada River Forecast Centers and local Weather Forecast Offices provide precipitation products that are widely used to support water management and flood response activities of various kinds. The Hydrometeorological Testbed (HMT) program is being conducted to help advance the science of precipitation tracking and forecasting in support of the NWS as well as local and regional water management agencies.

This presentation will describe water management applications of HMT advanced precipitation products pertinent to the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. Two case examples will be highlighted, 1) reservoir operations for flood control and water supply, and 2) urban storm water management. Application of advanced precipitation products in support of reservoir operations is a focus of the Sonoma County Water Agency. Examples include: a) interfacing the high-resolution QPE products with a distributed hydrologic model for the Russian-Napa watersheds, b) providing early warning of storm potentials for flood preparedness and water supply storage operations. For the storm water case, City of San Francisco wastewater engineers are intending to deploy high resolution gap-filling radars to look off shore to obtain longer lead times on approaching storms and to track precipitation over the City. A 4 to 8 hour lead time would provide opportunity to optimize storm water capture and treatment operations, and minimize combined sewer overflows into the Bay. Methods and initial results for quantification of benefits associated with the advanced precipitation products will be summarized.