Reservoir Operations Pilots

Through the Reservoir Operations Pilot Initiative, Reclamation uses modeling and forecasting tools to identify ways to increase flexibility in reservoir operations to support optimal water management.

2021 Pilot Studies

In June 2021, Reclamation selected six new Reservoir Operations Pilot Studies to evaluate approaches and potential operating alternatives to increase flexibility in reservoir operations to address risks from changes in the timing and volume of snowpack and runoff, changing water demands, reservoir evaporation, and risks from water supply shortfalls due to drought or competing demands.

Project Descriptions

2015 Pilot Studies

In 2015, Reclamation selected five pilot studies to identify possible improvements to reservoir operations. The results from these pilots are posted on this webpage, as they become available. See links to Bulletins summarizing pilot results and to the full reports.

  • Missouri River Basin: Upper Washita, Fort Cobb and Foss Reservoirs
  • California-Great Basin: Klamath River Basin, Klamath Project
  • Columbia-Pacific Northwest: Ochoco Creek and Crooked River
  • Lower Colorado Basin: Salt River Project, Salt and Verde Rivers


For more information regarding the Baseline Assessments please contact Avra Morgan at or 303-445-2906.


Current Status

Reclamation has identified six new 2021 Reservoir Operations Pilot projects for funding following Round 1 selections.

Proposed Calendar

Round 2 selections for 2021 Reservoir Operations Pilots are expected November 2021.

2021 Program Highlights

Lake Mendocino in California
Image (C) Joey Mertle

Economic Benefits of Alternative Reservoir Operations for Lake Mendocino
Fact Sheet | Report | Decision Support Tool

Last Updated: 11/3/21