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For more information:
SWP Operations Control Office
Department of Water Resources
3310 El Camino Ave, Ste. 300
Sacramento, CA 95821-9000
Phone: (916) 574-2650
Fax: (916) 574-2785

Windgap facility image Operations Control Office

The Operations Control Office directs overall water and power operations of the California State Water Project by focusing on its Strategic Goals, in support of Division and Department goals.

The OCO, in coordination with environmental and regulatory agencies, develops, plans and implements the operation to meet fish, water, and environmental requirements for the Delta. The office develops studies for projecting water availability and to provide guidelines for flood operation.

The OCO is responsible for the daily water and power operations of the Project. Through its contacts with electric utilities throughout the United States and Canada, the office negotiates the sale and purchase of electrical power as required for the economical operation of SWP pumping and generating plants. These responsibilities include accurate record keeping of data required for billing and for historical archiving.

The OCO coordinates its water and power operations with various agencies such as the State Water Contractors, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration, and with regulatory agencies such as California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The OCO consists of three branches:


The Project Operations Planning Branch develops the basic operational plan for the SWP, optimizing and balancing the many factors competing for the available water supply. The Branch accomplishes this based on a time perspective, as follows:

  • Analyzes water and power operations on a long-term basis (up to 20 years into the future) under various assumptions.
  • Develops strategic plans for the current and next year's water and power operations to analyze hydrologic conditions, to plan and coordinate facility outages, and to optimize the balance between constraints.
  • Develops, documents, and maintains computer models to perform above analyses.
  • Prepares specific plans for water and power operations for the upcoming weeks using computer models supported by the Project Operations Support Branch.
  • Monitors Project operations compared to regulatory requirements and recommends changes to current schedules or future plans to assure compliance.
  • Coordinates collection, storage, dissemination and analysis of basic water and power data for operational plans, contract administration, management reporting, and maintenance of an historical operating database.


The Project Operations Center manages the day-to-day and minute-to-minute operation of the SWP, and is responsible for meeting the operational goals of the OCO. The POC manages the operation, as follows:

  • Preschedules daily water and power operations and creates daily water and power schedules; preschedules next day sales of project energy and purchases of needed energy.
  • Administers water and power contracts with other agencies.
  • Implements and coordinates round-the-clock daily water and power schedules with the field divisions and interconnected power companies, and hourly sales and purchases of electrical power resources using the wholesale power market.
  • Analyzes, approves, and administers equipment outage requests from the field divisions, coordinates the outages with the Project Operations Planning Branch and with other power and water utilities.
  • Trains Headquarters and field division personnel in safe clearance procedures, and develops switching procedures for high voltage switchyards throughout the Project.


The Project Operations Support Branch is responsible for assuring reliable and efficient systems for scheduling and dispatching operations of the SWP. To accomplish this, the Branch:
  • Provides systems for
    • monitoring and controlling power through the bulk power transmission facilities down through the plant high-voltage switchyards
    • interchange metering
    • automatic generation control systems
    • advanced water and energy management system applications
    • inter-utility and intra-Department systems for exchange of historic operating data
  • Designs, acquires and maintains the equipment and facilities to meet these requirements.
  • Develops, documents and maintains computer models and other applications required to support the water and power scheduling, rescheduling, and accounting systems.
  • Provides line maintenance to the Project Operation Center at the Joint Operations Center and to the Telemetry systems.
  • Operates and provides equipment for a maintenance laboratory to fabricate special circuits replacement parts, component repair and equipment testing.