Reclamation provides $2.5 million to improve snow water supply forecasting



Credit: Bureau of Reclamation/Alex Stephens

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $2.5 million for 12 projects to advance snow measurement technology development, demonstration and application to improve water supply forecasting. Four projects will include partner contributions of $720,000.

“With the changing climate and droughts occurring in the West, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the processes and methods used to forecast snow water runoff needs improvement,” said Chief Engineer David Raff. “The research and demonstrations being undertaken is another way that Reclamation is working to improve our forecasting.”

This program supports President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad as it increases resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Project examples:

  • Partner with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to collaboratively pursue existing snow monitoring network design, enhancement and sensor evaluation in the West.
  • Enhance the snow monitoring program in the San Joaquin River watershed. The funding would augment planned Airborne Snow Observatory flights. This information is critical to the operations at Millerton Reservoir and the San Joaquin River Settlement when water is needed early in the runoff season to support salmon restoration.
  • Assess utility of new satellites to advance the state-of-the-art capabilities in quantifying snow water content in high-elevation mountain watersheds. The project will attempt to demonstrate and test integrated satellite-based data techniques to enhance snow and water supply forecasting in river basins.
  • Develop an integrated remote sensing and physical modeling approach to producing high resolution modeled snow water equivalent in near real-time for small to medium basins where snowmelt is the primary driver of spring and summer reservoir inputs.

H.R. 133 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260) authorized these activities.

To learn more about these selected projects, please visit


Media Contact
Peter Soeth
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