Water Agency Chairwoman Shirlee Zane Testifies on Innovative Water Management Initiatives


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    (Washington, D.C.) – Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane today testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Power to discuss the many innovative water supply and drought resilience initiatives the Water Agency is currently implementing.  The purpose of the hearing was to examine increasing water security and drought preparedness through infrastructure, management and innovation.

    “I was honored to testify and share with the committee the innovative water supply management tools the Sonoma County Water Agency is developing and implementing,” said Sonoma County Water Agency Chairwoman Shirlee Zane.  “Securing our water future means thinking outside of the box and not being afraid to lead by example.  That is exactly what the Water Agency continues to do as we develop first-class initiatives with our partners.  Our investment in water innovation can be replicated across the nation.  I am excited to share our experiences to help build innovation in the water industry.”

    Among the many innovative water management programs the Water Agency is currently implementing is Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO).  FIRO is a proposed management strategy that uses data from watershed monitoring and modern weather and water forecasting to help water managers selectively retain or release water from reservoirs in a manner that reflects current and forecasted conditions. FIRO is being developed and tested as a collaborative effort focused on Lake Mendocino that engages experts in civil engineering, hydrology, meteorology, biology, economics and climate from several federal, state and local agencies, universities and others. More information is available at http://cw3e.ucsd.edu/FIRO/

    The Water Agency is helping to build a Western coalition of stakeholders that are committed to working with partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and Office of Atmospheric Research to improve weather forecasting capabilities. Stakeholders include the California Department of Water Resources, Western States Water Coalition, Orange County Water District, Salt River Project, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, Association of California Water Agencies, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Colorado River District. After enduring several years of drought, Western states this year experienced tremendous rainfall.  In both extremes, improved forecasting will allow communities throughout the West to better prepare for wet and dry seasons alike.

    View Chairwoman Zane’s written testimony (PDF)

    Watch a C-SPAN video recording of the hearing

    Related Documents and Background Information:



    The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment.  The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at www.sonomacountywater.org.



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