Right now, Folsom Lake's water levels are at historic lows because of a third consecutive dry winter. But federal officials say in the future, when we get way too much rain and snow, the reservoir won't be able to hold all the water. That's why the dam needs to be raised by 3.5 feet.
"It's for reducing the flood risk to the downstream communities in the Sacramento region."
~Tyler Stalker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Stalker is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Sacramento District, which is holding a public meeting on the project this week.
Specifically, the plan calls for raising all of the dykes, the Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam and the right and left wings of the main dam. It's a long term project and construction wouldn't start for another two years.
"We really just want to talk to the public," Stalker says. "We have some ideas on how we think we can implement this plan. We want to get their thoughts on those. One of them's a 3.5-foot flood wall, some of them are just raising the earth and dykes 3.5 feet."
In a separate project, Folsom Dam is getting new flood-control gates designed to release water quicker during a flood. The steel gates were built in Oregon and are scheduled to arrive later this month.
The meeting on the dam raise project will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Folsom Community Center.
Overall water use decreased again in September compared to last year in the Sacramento region. Water providers are also pumping less groundwater, despite a heavier reliance on it in the drought.
If a flood were to hit Twitchell Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta it would threaten much of California’s water supply. It’s why emergency management agencies are holding flood-fighting exercises during a drought.
UC Davis researchers have identified 'high priority' dams in California where releasing water may be a key for the survival of native fish species.
California Governor Jerry Brown says the state can lead the way with its water policies just as California is leading the way with initiatives for renewable energy and climate change.
A winter forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Thursday shows the California drought may persist or intensify in parts of the state.