Improving Hydrologic and Energy Demand Forecasts for Hydropower Operations with Climate Change

Improving hydropower management with better hydrology projections

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the Irvine Campus


Irvine, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

Hydropower scheduling, particularly for a short-term time frame is one of the most crucial issues in reservoir operation and clean energy supply. This research project aimed to improve the efficiency and reliability of hydropower forecasts and provide decision makers with information for short-term hydropower scheduling. The research team developed a short-term precipitation forecasting framework for key regions in California with a lead time of up to 6 hours. In addition, the team designed a new framework to allow forecasting cloud-top brightness temperatures and facilitate the generation of spatial-temporal information that can be extrapolated for future precipitation events. The project final report has been submitted for review.

The Issue

Hydropower is an important source of clean electricity generation in California. Its role in California's energy generation mix is growing as it is needed to complement the intermittent nature of wind and solar generation units. Climate change is altering the amount and variability of precipitation in California which impacts hydropower operations. This leads to a need to improve management of hydropower facilities through an improvement of short-term precipitation forecasting tools.

Project Innovation

This project is part of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Water-Energy Technologies (CERC-WET), co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and China. The project improves the accuracy of an existing near real-time Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN) product, originally developed at UC Irvine's Center for Hydrology and Remote Sensing.

Project Goals

Improve short-term hydroelectricity forecasting.

Project Benefits

The development of tools for hydropower scheduling and prediction will facilitate power exchanges in the electricity markets, reduce unnecessary consumption of non-renewable energy sources, and increase the reliability of energy generation. California is the study region, helping inform California utilities in the management of hydropower resources.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

Improved hydropower management will incorporate ecologically beneficial metrics for ecosystems to minimize adverse ecosystem impacts from the electricity generation.

Greater Reliability


More accurate and current information on streamflow will contribute to the increased confidence and higher efficiency of hydropower scheduling decisions generated by reservoir and hydropower dispatch models.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Soroosh Sorooshian

Distinguished Professor
University of California, Irvine

Contact the Team