SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Wednesday the 2019-20 state budget will include $9.25 million for research to better understand and forecast so-called atmospheric rivers, leading to improved flood control and water retention in a state grappling with the effects of climate change and chronic drought.
“This is a smart investment to protect our precious water resources in the most efficient way possible,” Dodd said. “It will give our state the additional tools it needs to forecast extreme rain and control how much water we save as we face increasingly unpredictable conditions brought on by global warming.”
The funding, which is expected to be approved by the Legislature this week, will allow the Department of Water Resources to research how it can better forecast the intensity and landfall locations of atmospheric rivers. About half of the state’s annual rainfall and 90 percent of its flooding come from such storms.
Water managers may use the forecasts to retain water they would otherwise release, resulting in a cost savings and a more reliable water supply, while preserving and enhancing flood control capabilities.
Dodd advocated for the funding along with a coalition of state water agencies, including Sonoma Water, which have been studying the phenomena of atmospheric rivers as part of their water management strategies.