Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program

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MWH successfully led the on-time completion of the first-ever, State of California Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP). Adopted June 29, 2012, by a unanimous vote of the state’s Central Valley Flood Protection Board (Board), the 2012 CVFPP provides a comprehensive plan to modernize a flood management system that protects more than one million people and $70 billion in assets in 19 counties within a major watershed of about 42,000 square miles.

    Location: Sacramento, California, United States
    Region: Americas
    Market Sector: Water & Wastewater
    Status: In Progress

    The state’s Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008 requires the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) to formulate a systemwide approach to address problems with the State’s century-old flood management system.  The plan development and many early implementation actions for emergency repairs were supported by $4.9 billion in bonds approved by State voters in 2007, after witnessing the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

    CDWR awarded MWH a $35 million contract in late 2008 for developing the Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program, including the 2012 CVFPP.  As the prime contractor, MWH delivered:

    • Management of a large consultant team with more than 28 subcontractors of unique expertise
    • Integrated consulting services across the Program, forming a collaborative project development team with CDWR staff, and developing Program website content and collaboration tools for internal and external team members.
    • The first inventory and digital documentation for flood management facilities for which State has legally documented responsibilities.
    • The first comprehensive assessment of the physical conditions and performance of existing flood management facilities (including more than 1,600 miles of levees), which synthesizes geometric, hydrologic, and geotechnical evaluations from various ongoing projects and programs, routine inspection records, and staff field knowledge and experience.
    • Assistance to CDWR in developing and implementing plan development strategy, including consideration of structural and non-structural actions, residual risk management tactics, and new and modified management policies.
    • A comprehensive, system wide evaluation of proposed flood management approaches for multiple benefit categories including life safety, flood damage reduction, and environmental services.
    • Conceptual engineering and cost estimates to facilitate a trade-off analysis among different approaches.
    • A new methodology for incorporating climate change into flood management planning.
    • A comprehensive public communication and stakeholder engagement strategy, reaching more than 300 agencies, elected officials, organizations, city and county governments, and interest groups.
    • A complex and unchallenged Program Environmental Impact Report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.
    • As a related effort, California Building Code amendments for single family residential occupancy in deep floodplains to provide voluntary evacuation location above 200-year water surface elevation.

    The MWH team also supported the plan review and adoption process, including information dissemination, and procedural and reporting requirements to meet legislated deadlines.

    The resulting State System-wide Investment Approach recommended in the 2012 CVFPP describes a sustainable flood management strategy for improving public safety, ecosystem conditions, and economic stability, while recognizing the financial challenges facing public agencies. This approach will support California’s vital agricultural economy, maintain agricultural land uses, limit growth in undeveloped floodplains, and help improve flood system resiliency in the face of climate change.  Full implementation of the recommended approach will take 20 to 25 years and approximate $14-17 billion in investments.  DWR Deputy Director Gary Bardini called the CVFPP one of the most comprehensive planning documents the State has ever produced.

    Since adoption of the 2012 CVFPP, MWH is assisting DWR in formulating strategies for CVFPP implementation, which include locally-led regional planning, long-term ecosystem conservation strategy development, floodplain management, financing plan development, and inputs to statewide integrated flood management planning.

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    “I’m writing to express my sincere appreciation for MWH’s contribution to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) work efforts on the FloodSAFE California initiative over the past four years.  In particular, your Sacramento office has done a tremendous job supporting DWR in developing the first ever Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP), including the supporting Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR).  As I’m sure you are aware, your team helped DWR produce a high quality Plan and PEIR on time!  As mandated by State legislation, the CVFPP was recently adopted by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board.  The development and adoption of the CVFPP represents a significant milestone in the history of California flood management and is the first major stepping stone for California to effectively implement integrated flood management and improve public safety over the long-term.  Your team was instrumental in achieving this milestone.

    Your team has worked above and beyond the call of duty to deliver quality work products on time and to ensure the work products are polished and professional.

    Although I represent just one voice, I’m confident that my sentiments here are well representative of all DWR executives, managers and staff that have worked with your team.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with MWH on this important project, I know I can count on your team to deliver, and I look forward to continuing the relationship I’ve built with your team as we implement the CVFPP in the years to come!”

    Jeremy Arrich, Principal Engineer (Chief, Central Valley Flood Planning Office) California Department of Water Resources


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    Sacramento, California, United States
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