Here at the Folsom Dam, this mammoth
structure behind me prevents 700,000 people from massive flooding. We came here to find out more about what
happens when the flood gates open, where the water goes, all that and more as we
go all access at the Folsom Dam. Water flowing freely from the Folsom and
Nimbus Dams, was a rare sight throughout the state’s historic
six-year drought. During that time, water was primarily released
because of the consistent demand on supply. We provide water on a daily basis to a litany of
customers, and to all of our customers and to meet
Endangered Species Act, to meet law; federal, state, local law; and biological opinions. These are all requirements that we have to fulfill, and in order to get our water deliveries made to
maintain a water supply for these uses, that’s what we have to consider. Those same flood gates are also open during
significant storms, similar to what California has experienced the
past month. The reason for doing so is to provide flood
protection to downstream communities, but due to its small size, the Folsom reservoir
fills quickly and also empties just as fast. It’s really important that we manage the inflow
coming in, and then with our outflow we’re able to make
adjustments as needed. Determining how many gates open, is based on collaborative discussions between
multiple agencies, and also is dictated by the amount of inflow
coming into the reservoir. Significant storms, depending on size and
severity, pose numerous challenges. One is, people see the water coming into the
reservoir and they see the releases being made, but the rain itself falls throughout our area and,
some of the areas just become very inundated with water from just natural runoff, and so for us, it’s very important that we manage our system
to prevent any potential overflow to our system. Storms have already filled the reservoir with two-
thirds more water compared to last year, and winter isn’t done yet.
If not for the Folsom Dam, an estimated 700,000 people downstream, along
with critical infrastructures would be in the path of massive flooding. Your whole purpose of this facility is to avoid
downstream flooding. Historically, before the dam was in place, all the storms that come through the area would
typically flood downtown Sacramento area. Part of our role, is to deliver water to protect
downstream from flooding, and so the reservoir has been a great resource for providing water year-round. Where before the water would come through, and once it passed it was gone, and now the system provides this annual supply
of water that’s available to us all year. Fulfilling all of its daily demands, the Folsom
Dam is a multipurpose facility. Without it, the area would be minus some of its
necessary resources such as drinking water, agriculture benefits, water for businesses, and
maybe most importantly, flood control. For more on this story as well as other videos
and blogs, go to

4 thoughts on “FOLSOM DAM TOUR

  1. So the fish is swimming towards the wall, hits the wall and what does he say? GOD DAM

  2. I’m with Kiro Tv in Seattle Wa. Would it be ok to use some of your video? Will give you credit for shooting it. Thank you!

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