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California’s Central Valley to receive most comprehensive flood plan in 100 years

 SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — GEI Consultants Inc., lead consulting firm for the California Department of Water Resources’ FloodSAFE California Program, announced that the long-awaited Public Draft of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, one of the major endeavors of the FloodSAFE Program, has been released. The Draft Plan will be adopted by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board following public hearings slated for the next three months. It is expected to be finalized and adopted by the Board by July 1, 2012.

The plan calls for $17 billion in infrastructure projects over a 25 year period. When complete, it will provide a 200-year-level of flood protection for urban areas and will improve flood protection for more than 1 million people and an estimated $69 billion in assets (including homes, buildings, major highways and much of the state’s water supply).

"This is a milestone achievement for California," said Mike Mierzwa, flood policy advisor at the California Department of Water Resources, which prepared the plan. "We are especially pleased that the Plan embraces flood management as an entire system, and not in a piece-meal fashion."

This first comprehensive system-wide flood plan also echoes the sentiments of California Governor Jerry Brown, who has called for refocusing on preparing for the potential effects of climate change. The plan recommends repairs to bridges, levees, channels, flood control weirs, bypasses, and other flood control infrastructure. It is expected to generate 6,500 new jobs for Californians.

"GEI appreciates being involved in preparation of such an important plan and for working on the FloodSAFE program as a lead consultant," said Naser Bateni, consulting program manager for GEI Consultants. "The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan is the culmination of years of hard work performed by devoted DWR staff and their consulting team, each having the same goal of producing an efficient yet comprehensive plan encompassing the entire system to provide adequate flood protection for the Central Valley’s citizens and physical assets."

GEI has been assisting DWR in the redesign of its flood protection program since 2007. In addition to FloodSAFE program management, consulting services have included improving flood emergency response program including developing long-term planning and strategic implementation documents, and technical services such as flood forecasting and warning, climate data collection and precipitation/runoff forecasting, reservoir operations and river forecasting, flood operations emergency response, delta flood preparedness, response, and recovery project, and updated hydrology.