Feb 22 2012

Moving in the Right Direction: The 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Public Draft


This past December, the public draft of the 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) was released. We’ve mentioned the CVFPP before but we wanted dig into it a little more and give you more of a formal introduction to what the CVFPP is.

CVFPP Primary Goal: Improve flood risk management

The CVFPP is a comprehensive plan that lays out the big picture steps with the primary goal of improving flood risk management in the Central Valley. This includes getting urban areas (greater than a population of 10,000) to at least a 200 year level of flood protection and improving public safety, preparedness, and emergency response.

CVFPP Secondary Goals: Improve operations and maintenance, promote ecosystem functions, improve institutional support, and promote multi-benefit projects.

This is a system includes 1,600 miles of levees. The population at risk is roughly 1 million people along with $70 billion of assets in an area that already saw more than $3 billion in damages in 1986 and 1997. The Sacramento metro area is particularly vulnerable, not even protected up to the accepted 100-year flood event. This is among the lowest existing level of protection for a metropolitan area in the nation. The CVFPP is a major step towards getting the system up to par.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) started off working through three approaches:

  1. Achieve SPFC Design Flow Capacity: This merely would focus on improving the existing facilities and levees to convey their design flow according to current engineering criteria. This would be almost purely flood management.
  2. Protect High Risk Communities: This approach would focus on levee improvements in urban and small community areas leaving rural-agricultural levees in their existing configuration. Again, this provides minimal opportunities beyond flood management.
  3. Enhance Flood System Capacity: This would combine the first two approaches and present opportunities for multiple benefits in enhancing the flood system storage and increasing the actual conveyance capacity. This approach also allows for the integration of more ecosystem restoration and enhancements.


CFVPP Draft pg 3-37: Figure 3-7. Relative Comparison of SSIA and Preliminary Approach Efficiency

The problem with the third alternative? Cost and time (see Figure 3-7 above from the CVFPP draft)! So the best of all three alternatives were combined to become the proposed approach: The State Systemwide Investment Approach (SSIA). Table 3-2 below, taken from the CVFPP draft, compares the 3 initial approaches and the SSIA and shows the flood management elements of each.

CFVPP Draft pg 3-3: Table 3-2. Major Elements of the Preliminary and SSIA Approaches


Below is a map (Figure 3-1 from CVFPP draft) which shows the SSIA flood improvement projects in the Sacramento Valley.


CFVPP Draft pg 3-5: Figure 3-1. SSIA – Sacramento River Basin Improvements

The rest of the draft report digs more into the cost and implementation moving forward. The next steps will be starting the basin and regional feasibility studies, which will involve more and more folks at the local and federal levels. Remember, though, this report is only the draft CVFPP plan. Public input and meetings are ongoing, including a board meeting this Friday.

Overall, this report is an unprecedented effort to look at the Central Valley as a whole. There will likely be some changes here and there as more people give input before the plan is finalized, but it is still a significant shift in working through the systemic flood protection problems in the Central Valley.

This past Friday, Dusty and I had the opportunity to  ask questions about the report and effort with some of the leading DWR folks. We will post the results of this question and answer session soon. In the interview, we asked them more about the climate change approach, ecosystem integration, topographic data collection effort, potential acquisition problems, federal involvement, and more. In the meantime, here are a few more articles and resources related to the draft CVFPP:

Public Draft 2012 CVFPP: High Resolution PDF (38mb), Low Resolution PDF (8mb)

FloodSAFE Overview (Video, WMV)

Central Valley Flood Management Planning (CVFMP) Program

Public Involvement in a Better Plan: Letter to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board (The Water Away)

California bonds pay for levees in floodplains, leading to more growth, increased flood risk (AP)

1 comment

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  1. Jessica

    This is a great summary and overview of the plan, I look forward to hearing the results from your Q and A with the DWR staffers. Keep up the good work!

  1. » Central Valley Flood Protection Plan: DWR Interview (Part 1) Hydraulically Inclined

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