A Supershed Approach
Climate change is projected to have far-reaching implications on how California and the Sacramento region manage water supplies for both people and the environment.
To address these challenges, local water managers have identified a comprehensive Water Resilience Portfolio called WaterFuture, which encompasses our entire supershed--from the mountain tops of the American River watershed to the groundwater basin below the valley floor. WaterFuture includes a suite of projects all focused on addressing increasing threats of flood, fire, and drought.
Fact sheet on the Supershed Approach
Guest Article: Why the Sacramento region’s watershed is ‘super’
Click on a box in the map for information about each climate resiliency project in the supershed.
The RiverArc Project
RiverArc would provide a low-impact diversion from the Sacramento River, preserving water in Folsom Reservoir and the lower American River for the environment, and would expand the years when groundwater could be banked. Utilizing an existing water supply diversion on the Sacramento River, RiverArc will provide flexibility for the region to meet water supply needs in the most environmentally friendly manner.
Learn More about the RiverArc Project
A Reservoir Under Our Feet
The Water Bank is an innovative groundwater storage and recovery program that, by 2030, will allow local water providers to store over 90,000 acre-feet of water during wet years using existing and planned facilities. During a dry year, much of that stored groundwater could be recovered, allowing more lake and river water to be available for the environment of the lower American River or other beneficial uses elsewhere in the state.
Learn more about the Sacramento Regional Water Bank
Fact sheet on the Water Bank
Learn more about the Water Bank
The Water Forum Agreement is a regional commitment among water providers, environmentalists, business groups, and local agencies, and is the Sacramento region’s enduring North Star for meeting the co-equal goals of providing a reliable, long-term water supply and protecting and preserving the environment of the lower American River. The Water Forum’s work helps preserve water storage in Folsom Reservoir to guard against drought and climate change, and improve water temperature and habitat in the lower American River for salmon and steelhead.
Learn more about Environmental Stewardship
Fact sheet on the Water Forum and environmental stewardship in the Sacramento region
Video on the region's plan to protect the lower American River and water supplies
Learn more about the Water Forum
Water Efficiency Program
Local water providers are committed to water efficiency through ongoing efforts and the Water Forum. The Sacramento region’s overall water use per capita has decreased significantly over the past 20 years. During the drought, our region reached some of the highest conservation levels in the state, saving 12 percent of the state’s total water savings with only 5 percent of the population.
Learn more about the Regional Water Efficiency Program
· Fact sheet on water efficiency in the Sacramento region
· 2021 Water Efficiency Program Year in Review
Learn more at BeWaterSmart.info, the region's water efficiency website
A healthy headwaters is critical to healthy water supplies. Currently, California faces the overwhelming challenge of overstocked and unhealthy forests, where the consequences are unnecessary evapotranspiration, ecosystems that are out of balance, and catastrophic fire. Our resilience portfolio builds and expands on successful projects that include multi-stakeholder collaboration to implement selective thinning, burn treatments, and targeted reforestation of climate-resilient trees.
Learn more about Forestry Management
· Fact sheet on Forestry Management
Video about the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project
Western Wildfires Threaten Water Supplies, Spur Utilities to Action (Voice of America, 10/3/20)
Restoring California’s Forests to Reduce Wildfire Risks (The Conversation, 10/13/20)
Rob on the Road—Fire Prevention (KVIE, 11/10/20) Andy Fecko with the Placer County Water Agency discusses how a new public-private partnership is working to fight megafires and help the forests of the future.
Upstream Storage Enhancements
SAFCA is using advances in weather and runoff forecasting to maximize storage for flood waters in reservoirs upstream from Folsom, a strategy that will become ever-more critical with climate change as precipitation falls as rain rather than snow and snowmelt runoff peaks earlier in season. Enhancing storage upstream can reduce pressure on Folsom Reservoir and downstream levees for flood control, increase river flows for the environment, and redirect flood flows for groundwater recharge.
Learn More about Flood Control in the Sacramento Region
The region is continually looking at ways to improve reservoir management and move as much excess flood waters into the ground as possible. Spreading grounds and high-capacity recharge channels are being evaluated in agricultural land between Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove. Additionally, forecast-informed reservoir operation (FIRO) is being expanded on Folsom Reservoir operations.
Learn More about Flood Control in the Sacramento Region
The American River Basin Study
Projecting Climate Change Impacts on our Watershed
The American River Basin Study is a comprehensive watershed-level look at projected climate change impacts and strategies for addressing future water demands, flood risks and environmental impacts.
Fact sheet on the American River Basin Study and projected climate change impacts on the Sacramento region
The American River Basin Study: Climate Change Impacts and Strategies for Addressing the Weather Extremes that Threaten our Water Supplies, Flood Protection and Environment (webinar recording): Learn more about projected climate change impacts and the Water Bank as an adaptation strategy
Funding Regional Water Resilience
The American River watershed is a significant source of the state’s water supply system, providing on average approximately 8 percent of human water use statewide. Yet, 90 percent of the water flowing from the watershed is used beyond the watershed. That means that every drop of water produced or stored here through conjunctive use has the potential to provide multiple cascading benefits for the environment and water supplies of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and communities downstream.
Investing $200 million in the Sacramento region’s conjunctive use program will provide an environmentally-friendly, drought- and climate change-resilient supply of approximately 100,000 acre-feet annually.
Fact sheet on investing in the American River region to improve statewide water reliability