BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 758  


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          Date of Hearing:  August 19, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          SB 758  
          (Block) - As Amended August 17, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill establishes the Atmospheric Rivers Research,  
          Mitigation, and Climate Forecasting program at the Department of  
          Water Resources (DWR).  Specifically, contingent upon special or  
          private funding, this bill requires DWR to:








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             1)   Conduct research relating to climate forecasting and the  
               causes and impacts of climate change has on atmospheric  
               rivers.  


             2)   Take all actions within its existing authority to  
               operate reservoirs in a manner that improves flood  
               protection.


             3)   Re-operate flood control and water storage facilities to  
               capture water generated by atmospheric rivers to increase  
               water supply and reliability and hydropower availability.    
                


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          This bill creates the following special fund or private fund  
          cost pressures:


             1)   Approximately $3.5 million for additional sensors to  
               help monitor the formation of the Sierra Barrier Jet and  
               the dynamics of moisture flow up the Central Valley and  
               into the Burney Gap (includes operation and maintenance  
               costs of $500,000 per year).



             2)   Approximately $750,000 per year to continue operations  
               of the expanded extreme precipitation network.



             3)   Approximately $500,000 to improve predictability of the  








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               formation and strength of atmospheric rivers.  
          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, California has the most  
            variable annual precipitation of any state ranging from severe  
            drought to major floods.  This bill requires critical research  
            to ensure California accurately forecasts climate change  
            impacts to provide information to impact water management  
            decisions.


          2)Background.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric  
            Administration (NOAA), atmospheric rivers are relatively  
            narrow regions in the atmosphere that are responsible for most  
            of the horizontal transport of water vapor outside of the  
            tropics. On the west coast, 30-50% of the annual precipitation  
            on average comes from a few atmospheric river events.


            Under existing law, DWR is responsible for managing the  
            state's water resources. Within DWR is the Hydrology and Flood  
            Operations Office that is responsible for directing DWR's  
            flood and water supply forecasting operations, hydrology and  
            climatology studies, emergency flood operations, and flood  
            control project inspections and encroachment permitting. DWR  
            Research investments in atmospheric rivers over the last  
            decade include: 


                 $11.5 million in the extreme precipitation monitoring  
               network.
                 $3 million in projects with the Center for Western  
               Weather and Water Extremes for decision support tools.


                 $4 million over five years with NOAA's Earth Systems  
               Research laboratory for work on a maintenance plan for the  
               extreme precipitation network.








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                 Three-year study to evaluate the current flood  
               systems/flows/capabilities based on an atmospheric river  
               storm.





            DWR indicates, with sufficient funding, the Hydrology and  
            Flood Operations Office could accomplish the requirements of  
            this bill through existing programs.





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081