The California Department of Water Resources on January 13 announced statewide Proposition 84 (The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006) grant awards that include over $43 million for water resources-related projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly half, or $19.84 million, will go towards funding the San Francisco Bay Area Advanced Quantitative Precipitation Information system.
The DWR funding will be used to place up to five new X-band radar units throughout the Bay Area, specifically to provide more precise rainfall forecasting for atmospheric rivers. It is estimated that over the last few decades more than 50 percent of major flooding in the Bay Area, and closer to 70 percent in the North Bay, has come from atmospheric rivers that often are not detected with conventional, high-aiming S-band, or NEXRAD, radar units that were originally designed for thunderstorms in the Midwest. The new radar system also will give flood control managers, emergency responders, transportation officials and media outlets more precise information on just where, when and the intensity of expected rainfall.
“With advanced radar equipment, improved forecast modeling and greater coordination with existing weather forecasting infrastructure and services, water managers will be better able to manage our precious water resources within our reservoirs,” said Sonoma Water Director Shirlee Zane. “The advanced rainfall forecasting system is essential to securing our future water supply by utilizing state-of-the-art radar technology. Thank you to our project partners for helping develop this new system and providing the funding necessary to take Bay Area weather forecasting into the 21st century.”
Sonoma Water has been the lead proponent of the project along with Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Bay Area Flood Protection Agencies Association.
The radar units will be constructed and installed by Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. Advance modeling will be provided by the National Weather Services and the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Overall coordination of the project will be provided by NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
AQPI Partners, March 2016
AQPI Kickoff Event
General project information and news media: