Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations

Managing water before the first drop hits the ground

Growing demand for water supply coupled with increasingly frequent drought and flood risk requires optimal management of the Nation's available water resources. Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) is a research-and-operations partnership strategy that capitalizes on scientific improvements in weather and hydrologic forecasting to improve reservoir management. The FIRO research program now encompasses four pilot sites at varying stages of assessment, and the emerging development of a FIRO Screening Process to assess suitability of the full USACE portfolio of dams.

The FIRO research program is in response to an update to the US Army Corps of Engineers Water Control Management Engineer Regulation (ER 1110-2-240) that allows for forecasted conditions to be used in planning water management operations. At FIRO sites, collaborative teams of stakeholders and researchers rigorously assess the possibility of using atmospheric and hydrologic forecasts in making release decisions. Where viable, FIRO improves water supply availability, flood risk management, ecosystem benefits and other project purposes.

FIRO Factsheet

"This is exactly how we want the Federal Government to operate"
Jaime Shimek
12 April 2018
House Democratic E&W Appropriations Committe Staff
Seeing the lake so full makes Kyle Farmer, a rancher in Potter Valley, happy every time he drives by it.
"It's a huge deal to become adaptive like that. I don't think bureaucracies do that naturally," he said. "It restored my faith in the government, obviously, a little bit."
Excerpt from "Drought or Dangerous Flooding? Research aims to tame atmospheric river risks — and save California's Rain"
Rachel Becker
25 February 2020

FIRO is a highly collaborative Research and Development effort with partners from across the spectrum of Federal, State, Local agencies as well as academia, Native American Tribes, and other stakeholder organizations. Links to some FIRO information available from partner websites are found below.