Planning Tool for Local Water Managers Released for Public Comment

By on September 4, 2020
Public Sessions scheduled regarding governor’s water conservation executive order

The Department of Water Resources have released updated draft guidance for local water managers in developing state-mandated water management plans for public comment.

These new elements for the urban and agricultural water management plans reflect lessons learned from the 2014 – 2017 drought, advances in water measurement technology, and a continued commitment to the long-term sustainability of the Delta. The new draft guidance also responds to recent legislation updating the required components of each plan.

“Proactively preparing for the effects of climate change, extreme weather and extended dry periods is critical to ensuring long-term, regional sustainability,” said Kris Tjernell, Deputy Director for Integrated Watershed Management at the California Department of Water Resources. “Assisted by DWR’s updated guidebooks, local agencies will be better positioned to invest in diverse and innovative water management strategies, actions also called for in Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio.”

For the first time, agricultural water management plans will include a water budget to account for all water supplies and uses, a quantification of water use efficiency as well as actions to prepare for and manage through periods of inevitable drought. Urban water management plans will assess an agency’s ability to manage through at least five years of drought. Urban suppliers will also assess their systems’ vulnerability to earthquakes and climate change and must ensure that their planning efforts align with local Groundwater Sustainability Agency plans.

Urban and agricultural water suppliers are required to develop and submit water management plans to DWR every five years. The draft guidebooks include background information and tables that suppliers can incorporate into their plans.

Also, agricultural and urban water suppliers that anticipate receiving water from a proposed Delta project must demonstrate in their plans a reduced reliance on water from the Delta. DWR developed draft guidebook appendices that explains the requirement and provides example technical approaches for quantifying reduced reliance on the Delta.

DWR will host virtual public workshops on September 16 to collect input and public comment on the draft guidebooks and public comment will close September 21. For more information about attending the public workshops and submitting a comment, contact Sabrina Cook at sabrina.cook@water.ca.gov.