In 2007, the California legislature passed five interrelated flood bills intended to address flood management issues in California, State flood damage liability, and to help direct use of the bond funds. The legislation included Chapter 364, Statutes of 2007, Senate Bill 5 and the Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008, which addresses flood management issues of the lands protected by the State Plan of Flood Control facilities. The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP), adopted in January 2012, pursuant to the Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008 and California Water Code sections 9600-9625, established an integrated systemwide approach to improving flood management in the areas currently receiving flood protection from State Plan of Flood Control facilities. As part of CVFPP implementation, Regional Flood Management Planning and two Basin-Wide Feasibility Studies have refined solutions for an integrated systemwide approach in the Central Valley. The integrated systemwide approach to flood risk reduction is also consistent with the California Water Action Plan (Action 8) objectives.
An integrated systemwide approach to flood risk reduction recognizes that flood management actions are interconnected with other planning and management activities within an integrated and sustainable water resources system, such as: land use planning, coordination across geographic and jurisdictional boundaries, ecosystem and habitat protection and environmental and economic sustainability. An integrated systemwide approach to flood risk reduction can achieve multiple benefits and provide opportunities to integrate ecosystem restoration within flood risk reduction projects. For example, construction of system improvements such as weir expansions and levee setbacks within the existing bypasses, or construction of new bypasses, will provide opportunities to expand and connect habitat within the flood management system, considerably improving the ecosystem while increasing flood carrying capacity and overall resiliency of the system.
The focus of the Systemwide Flood Risk Reduction Program will be to implement large-scale flood system improvements that have cross-regional benefits and that when packaged together offer multi-benefit opportunities.
Following adoption of the CVFPP, the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program has continued conducting planning activities to develop the CVFPP update pursuant to California Water Code requirements. The Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program is also assisting and coordinating with other DWR programs, including the Systemwide Flood Risk Reduction Program which is dedicated to implementing the key components of the CVFPP Systemwide improvements actions.
The CVFPP update and its supporting documents, including the two Basin-Wide Feasibility Studies, are refining the extent of system improvements that will create a long-lasting, robust, and resilient flood management system to meet future flood management challenges, including bigger floods that may be expected as a result of climate change effects on the State’s water runoff patterns.
The CVFPP is being updated to refine system needs, prioritize recommended actions, develop high level implementation schedules and funding plans for the recommended actions, and track progress of implementation actions. In accordance with Water Code requirements, DWR is considering the following outcomes to guide investment decisions and project prioritization for system-wide improvements:
1- Urban and rural flood risk reduction and increased resiliency by addressing existing system capacity constraints, lowering flood stages, and providing additional capacity for the purpose of accommodating potentially higher flows in the future.
2- Improved ecosystem functions by integrating the recovery and restoration of key physical processes, self-sustaining ecological functions, native habitats, and species into flood management system improvements.
3- Continued agricultural, natural resource, and economic sustainability. A long-term sustainable operations and maintenance program that provides for flood, ecosystem, and local initiative needs.
Known large-scale systemwide flood risk reduction projects that may compete for limited funding for planning, design and construction include, but are not limited to:
• Yolo Bypass facilities improvement such as expansion of Fremont Weir, Yolo Bypass, Sacramento Weir and Sacramento Bypass
• Reservoir Reoperation Projects, including Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project cost sharing
• Expansion of Sutter Bypass
• New Feather River Bypass
• Expansion of Paradise Cut
• San Joaquin River Restoration Program (Flood Control Elements).
The bond funding for the Systemwide Flood Risk Reduction Program will be used to plan and implement projects that are prioritized through CVFPP planning activities. The funding will be used for project planning, design, land acquisition, state, federal and local permitting, and construction.