Operations and Maintenance

South Bay Aqueduct

Dyer Reservoir and the South Bay Aqueduct located in Alameda County. DWR/2012.

DWR manages the California State Water Project (SWP) to ensure adequate water supplies are available under various hydrologic and legal conditions while maintaining SWP operational flexibility. 

We also develop, plan and implement the operation of the SWP in coordination with environmental and regulatory agencies to meet fish, water, and environmental requirements for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

We have five strategic operational goals:

  • Direct the operation of the State Water Project, within mandated policies and regulations, to optimize uses of available water with environmental sensitivity.
  • Plan and implement the programs so that State Water Project operations can effectively respond to the changing business environment.
  • Provide for the efficient and secure collection, storage, and distribution of accurate data and information associated with the operation of the State Water Project.
  • Manage the Joint Operations Center facilities to ensure a safe and productive work environment within reasonable cost.
  • Administer the safe operation and maintenance of the State Water Project facilities and equipment.

SWP Operations Control Office

Planning plays a critical role in meeting the SWP’s operational goals. The SWP Operations Control Office manages those planning efforts, which include:

  • Analysis of water and power operations on a long-term basis (up to 20 years into the future) under various assumptions.
  • Development of strategic plans for the current and subsequent years' water and power operations to analyze hydrologic conditions, plan and coordinate facility outages, and to optimize the balance between constraints.
  • Development, documentation, and maintenance of computer models to perform above analyses.
  • Preparation of specific plans for water and power operations for the upcoming weeks using computer models.
  • Monitoring of SWP operations compared to regulatory requirements and recommend changes to current schedules or future plans to assure compliance.
  • Coordinating collection, storage, dissemination and analysis of basic water and power data for operational plans, contract administration, management reporting, and maintenance of a historical operating database.

On a day-to-day basis, the Operations Control Office:

  • Preschedules daily water and power operations and creates daily water and power schedules; preschedules next day sales of project energy and purchases of needed energy.
  • Administers water and power contracts with other agencies.
  • Implements and coordinates around-the-clock daily water and power schedules with the field divisions and interconnected power companies, and hourly sales and purchases of electrical power resources using the wholesale power market.
  • Analyzes, approves, and administers equipment outage requests from the field divisions, coordinates the outages with other power and water utilities.
  • Trains headquarters and field division personnel in safe clearance procedures, and develops switching procedures for high voltage switchyards throughout the Project.

The Operations Control Office also manages a variety of support systems, which are implemented to ensure reliable and efficient systems for scheduling and dispatching operations of the SWP.

Refer to the "Operations and Delta Status," "Monthly And Annual Operations Reports," and "CALFED Operations" web pages for further information.

Coordinated Operation Agreement

In 1986, DWR and the Bureau of Reclamation signed the Coordinated Operation Agreement (COA). It defined how the state and federal water projects meet water quality and environmental flow obligations. The agreement called for periodic review to determine whether updates are needed in response to changed conditions. The Department of the Interior sent a letter to DWR Director in 2016 and again in 2018 to memorialize the commitment to review COA. 

After completing a joint review process, DWR and Reclamation agreed to an addendum to the COA in December 2018 to reflect water quality regulations, biological opinions with tightened environmental restrictions, and updated hydrology. DWR and the Bureau also signed an agreement to formalize the cost sharing formula for projects needed to meet joint responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The new agreement calls for costs to be shared equitably between the state and federal projects for work to meet joint responsibilities under the ESA, including monitoring and habitat restoration.

Water Initiatives Planning and Maintenance Branch

The Water Initiatives Planning and Maintenance Branch provides support for critical functions of the State Water Project (SWP).  Part of these functions include meeting the terms of the State and federal permits that allow the SWP to export water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These permitting requirements include, but are not limited to, the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) Water Quality Control Plan, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service’s (CDFW) Incidental Take Permit (ITP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) respective Biological Opinions (BiOps).

To avoid the operation of the SWP potentially leading to a jeopardy decision and to help ensure the survival of State and federally listed fish species, DWR must carry out actions and specific mitigation and minimization measures, some of which are prescribed in the State and federal permits.

The Branch includes water resource planning expertise and subject matter expertise necessary to advance projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Branch leads a broad portfolio of projects and provides support for ongoing and planned SWP regulatory compliance projects as required by the SWRCB and ITP/BiOps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta which include the following:

The Branch conducts engineering, environmental planning, and fisheries studies to improve the operation of the SWP and related project facilities, and plans new facilities to improve water supply reliability and quality for local uses and SWP/Central Valley Project exports.  Working with diverse interested parties and collaborators, the Branch has advanced research and development, developed new tools and technologies, and led projects in every phase from preliminary conceptual planning through construction.

The Branch provides technical support to the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) calling for smart surface water storage expansion to benefit water supply and the environment, and acceleration of state permitting of projects that protect and enhance fish and wildlife water supply reliability.  The five WSIP Projects that interface with the SWP are:

  • Sites Reservoir
  • Los Vaqueros Expansion
  • Chino Basin Program
  • Kern Fan
  • Willow Springs

More information on the WSIP can be found on the California Water Commission website at:  Proposition 1 Water Storage Investment Program (ca.gov).

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