Connecting Waterpeople

DWR releases final California Water Plan update 2018

  • DWR releases final California Water Plan update 2018
    View of the Yuba River.

About the entity

California Department of Water Resources
Established in 1956 by the California State Legislature, DWR protects, conserves, develops, and manages much of California's water supply. This includes the State Water Project (SWP), the nation’s largest state-built water conveyance program.
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The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the Final 2018 Update to the California Water Plan. Update 2018 presents a vision for greater collaboration and alignment among water sectors and institutions, sound strategies, and long-term investments needed for the sustainable management of the California’s water supply.

As directed by California Water Code, DWR publishes an update to the California Water Plan every five years that incorporates the latest information and science, serving as the comprehensive strategic plan for how water is managed throughout the state.

From a devastating drought, widespread flooding, sea level rise, and historic wildfires, California has experienced varying impacts of a changing climate since the previous Water Plan Update in 2013. In recognizing the need to adapt to these challenges, collaborative and coordinated statewide water management has grown more critical for all regions of the state.

“We are now living in a new climate reality and we know we must respond,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Our goals are clear — to face our critical, institutional, and systemic challenges head-on and build a more sustainable future.”

Update 2018 recommends 19 priority actions to improve integrated watershed management; strengthen infrastructure resiliency; restore ecosystem functions; empower under-represented communities; improve inter-agency alignment; address regulatory challenges; and support decision-making, adaptive management, and long-term planning.

Update 2018’s recommended actions fall in line with the Newsom Administration’s broader effort to develop a suite of priorities and actions to build a climate-resilient water system that prioritizes multi-benefit and watershed-scale approaches, utilizes natural infrastructure such as floodplains and aquifers, and strengthens partnerships.

“Update 2018 plays an important role in informing our work in the Newsom Administration to build this water resilience strategy,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot.

The Update is based on a collection of supporting documents that describe the plan’s findings and recommended actions in greater details.

DWR will host a webinar on Monday, July 29 to provide an overview of Update 2018 and the changes that were incorporated following the public comment period in December 2018. To receive updates on current and future Water Plan activities and related news, subscribe to Water Plan eNews.

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