Final California Water Plan Update 2018 Released by Department of Water Resources

By on July 18, 2019
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The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the Final 2018 Update to the California Water Plan earlier this week and the report highlights a vision for greater collaboration and alignment among water sectors and institutions. The update also details solid strategies and long-term investments needed for the sustainable management of California’s water supply.

As required by state law, the Water Plan must be updated every five years by the California DWR taking stock of current water management efforts and helping to orient future work. It incorporates the latest information and science and serves as the comprehensive strategic plan for how water is managed throughout 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.”

The need for an updated Water Plan in California is especially important now. Since the previous Water Plan Update in 2013 the state has faced a multi-year and devastating drought versus the wettest period on record. Additionally, sea level rise, escalating effects of climate change and unprecedented, historic wildfires have further threatened our hydrology. Director Nemeth summed up the need to recognize and adapt to these challenges when she said, “The consequences of inaction will be too severe.”

While the need for collaborative and coordinated statewide water management has grown more critical for all regions of the state, Water Plan 2018 recommends 19 priority actions to address regulatory challenges; empower under-represented communities; improve integrated watershed management; improve inter-agency alignment; restore ecosystem functions; strengthen infrastructure resiliency; and support decision-making, adaptive management, and long-term planning.

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot stressed the importance of Water Plan 2018 and the recent plans within Governor Newsom’s administration to build upon and compliment each other. “Update 2018 plays an important role in informing our work in the Newsom Administration to build this water resilience strategy,” said Crowfoot.

The Newsom Administration’s broader effort to develop a suite of priorities and actions to build a climate-resilient water system prioritizes multi-benefit and watershed-scale approaches, utilizes natural infrastructure such as floodplains and aquifers, and strengthens partnerships.

A webinar will be hosted by DWR on Monday, July 29 to provide an overview of Water Plan Update 2018 and the changes that were incorporated following the public comment period in December 2018. Go to: to register for this webinar and select whether you will attend the event on-line or in-person. A limited seating in-room option is available.