Performance of the Northern California Water System Under Climate Change: INFORM as an Adaptation Tool

Location: State of California
Sponsors: California Energy Commission
PI/Co-PIs: Dr. Konstantine Georgakakos (HRC) and Dr. Aris Georgakakos (Georgia Tech Research Corporation)
Collaborators: California Energy Commission

HRC supported a Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program to produce a report on the performance of the Northern California water system under a given future climate change scenario.  The intent of the analysis was to provide a 50 year prediction on the augmentation or reduction of water supply deliveries, energy generation and flood protection under the climate change scenarios relative to a historical baseline.  The INFORM coupled forecast-management system developed in partnership between HRC and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation was used in this investigation.  The INFORM model has previously been shown to improve the efficiency and management of Northern California reservoir facilities (Folsom, New Bullards Bar, Oroville, Trinity and Shasta).  The components of the system have been developed in close collaboration with forecast and management agencies in Northern California and are realistic representations of the system’s physical and technological processes.  Using both the INFORM coupled forecast-management system, and the outputs from a global climate model generated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), 50 years of projected hydrologic variables were provided an analyzed.  The outputs from this program provided water system managers and California policy makers with valuable information on how to plan for future water and energy demands.

For additional information please see the California Energy Commission Final Report 2011.