The Department of Water Resources manages and protects California’s water resources. We are also responsible for protecting life and property from catastrophic events such as flood, drought, and dam or levee failure. Our priority is the safety and security of the general public, as well as all emergency responders.
The California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) coordinates the State’s disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. We work closely with CalOES when emergency operation centers are activated during a flood or other emergency, and we follow the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) protocol.
- Flood Operations Center
When significant weather events have been forecast, we are responsible for coordinating local, State, and federal flood operations. The State-Federal Flood Operations Center (FOC) (PDF), located on El Camino Avenue in Sacramento, is the focal point of this effort. The FOC, when activated during a major weather event, operates 24 hours a day to monitor changing conditions, coordinate flood fight efforts with local and federal partners, and keep the public informed.
- Emergency Operation Centers
Incidents related to flood and/or the State Water Project may trigger the activation of Department Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and/or Incident Command Posts (ICP) in regions throughout the state. These EOCs and ICPs comprise DWR staff and local and federal partners coordinated in efforts to respond to and recover from an emergency. Recently, the Oroville Spillways Incident activated an ICP that mobilized 1000 DWR staff during the emergency response, and more throughout the recovery effort.
- Dam Safety Emergency Response
As part of the dam safety program, Section 6110 of the Water Code directs DWR to immediately employ any remedial means necessary to protect life and property. DSOD uses ShakeMap and ShakeCast for all jurisdictional dams to estimate the level of shaking a dam may have experienced during a seismic event, which allows DSOD to prioritize emergency response after an earthquake.
We utilize a variety of tools to prepare for the unexpected.
- Data exchange – The California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) disseminates real-time hydrologic and hydrometeorological data that helps inform our local, state, and federal partners for emergency preparedness and response.
- Dam safety – The Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) inspects all jurisdictional dams about once per year. High hazard dams are typically inspected twice a year, and special inspections may be made in response to follow-up work. DSOD requires outlet controls to be exercised at least annually and, in our presence, every three years.
- Weather forecasting – Our Sacramento Flood Operations Center is jointly operated with the National Weather Service. This unique partnership enables us to monitor weather with the best available technology and share weather watches, warnings, and forecasts via CDEC, social media, and news releases to keep the public and emergency responders informed.
- Education – Raising awareness about flood risk is an important part of our emergency preparedness strategy. Every October, we coordinate with local and federal partners throughout the state for Flood Preparedness Week. Our goal is to make sure every Californian knows their flood risk and has an emergency plan.
- Flood fight training – Every year, our flood fighting teams sharpen their skills with simulated flood fights to build muscle walls, temporary levees, and boil sack rings to prevent levee failure and mitigate flood damage. We also provide free training to other State agencies, counties, reclamation districts, Tribes, and non-profit agencies to help them learn how they can protect their properties and communities.
- Coordination – Each fall, we meet with county Offices of Emergency Services across the state to prepare for local flood and emergency risks and response.
State-Federal Flood Operations Center:
Ph: (800) 952-5530 or (916) 574-2619
State Water Project Operations Center:
Ph: (916) 574-2714
Governor’s Office of Emergency Services:
Ph: (916) 845-8911
Security and Emergency Management Program Contact:
Phone: (916) 653-4268