BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 758


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          SENATE THIRD READING


          SB  
          758 (Block)


          As Amended  August 17, 2015


          Majority vote


          SENATE VOTE:  38-0


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Water           |12-0 |Levine, Dahle, Dodd,  |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Beth Gaines, Cristina |                    |
          |                |     |Garcia, Gomez,        |                    |
          |                |     |Harper, Lopez,        |                    |
          |                |     |Mathis, Rendon,       |                    |
          |                |     |Salas, Williams       |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Appropriations  |17-0 |Gomez, Bigelow,       |                    |
          |                |     |Bloom, Bonta,         |                    |
          |                |     |Calderon, Chang,      |                    |
          |                |     |Nazarian, Eggman,     |                    |
          |                |     |Gallagher, Eduardo    |                    |
          |                |     |Garcia, Holden,       |                    |
          |                |     |Jones, Quirk, Rendon, |                    |








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          |                |     |Wagner, Weber, Wood   |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          SUMMARY:  Establishes the Atmospheric Rivers: Research,  
          Mitigation and Climate Forecasting Program (AR Program) at the  
          Department of Water Resources (DWR) in order to, contingent on  
          appropriation of special fund monies, conduct research relating  
          to climate forecasting and the causes and impacts that climate  
          change has on atmospheric rivers (ARs).  Directs DWR to take all  
          actions within its existing authority to operate reservoirs in a  
          manner that improves flood control and increases water supply,  
          hydropower, and water reliability.    


          EXISTING LAW:   


          1)Requires DWR to plan for the orderly and coordinated control,  
            protection, conservation, development, and utilization of the  
            resources of the state through the California Water Plan.


          2)Requires, as part of the California Water Plan, that DWR study  
            the amount of water needed to meet the state's future needs  
            and recommend programs, policies, and facilities to meet those  
            needs.


          3)Establishes within DWR the Hydrology and Flood Operations  
            Office, which 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.  The Flood Operations  
            Office also includes the California State Climatologist.










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          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, 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  
            formation and strength of ARs. 


          COMMENTS:  This bill would, if special funds can be identified,  
          establish an AR Program at DWR in order to study the  
          newly-recognized phenomenon that storm-driven water vapor can  
          concentrate in the atmosphere in relative narrow bands and that  
          understanding and predicting the behavior of these so-called  
          rivers and their subsequent rainfall can lead to better water  
          supply management, including reservoir operations.


          As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) Earth  
          System Research Laboratory explains, better satellite imagery  
          has enabled us to document that storm-associated winds can draw  
          together water vapor into distinct long narrow bands that travel  
          through the atmosphere like a river.  One such event, documented  
          by researchers in 2006, concluded that an AR produced roughly 10  
          inches of rain in two days and caused a flood on the Russian  
          River in northern California.  NOAA advises that it is now  
          recognized that the well-known Pineapple express storms (a term  
          that was used on the United States West Coast for many years)  








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          correspond to a subset of ARs, i.e. those that have a connection  
          to the tropics near Hawaii.  In some of the most extreme ARs,  
          the water vapor transport is enhanced by the fact that they  
          entrain (draw in) water vapor directly from the tropics.   
          According to NOAA, the community of flood control, water supply  
          and reservoir operators on the West Coast see understanding,  
          monitoring, and predicting ARs as key to mitigating the risk of  
          major flood events, while maintaining adequate water supply.  


          The author states that California has the most variable annual  
          precipitation of any state in the United States, ranging from  
          severe drought to major floods.  The author adds that better  
          forecasting of ARs has the potential to enable new levels of  
          both water supply and flood protection through the use of  
          Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO).  The author  
          states that due to California's continued drought, now is the  
          time for this critical research to ensure California accurately  
          forecasts ARs and has the information needed to impact water  
          management decisions.


          Other supporters state that only in recent years have scientists  
          come to recognize that between 30% and 50% of annual  
          precipitation in California and more than 90% of the major  
          floods come from a very small number of storms known as ARs.   
          Supporters advise that this bill lays out the foundation for  
          developing a program to analyze and accurately predict  
          precipitation from these AR events.  Supporters add that  
          California experiences, on average, $300 million per year in  
          flood damages and billions of dollars in economic and societal  
          disruption during drought events.  Supporters maintain that  
          implementation of this bill would lead to more accurate and  
          quantitative prediction of precipitation from ARs, thus enabling  
          reservoir operators to safely store additional water for use in  
          drought periods.


          There is no known opposition to this bill.  








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          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Tina Leahy / W., P., & W. / (916) 319-2096  FN:  
          0001678