3860 Department of Water Resources
Program Descriptions


The California Water Plan is the state's strategic plan for the efficient use, management and development of the state's water resources. The Plan is updated every five years and provides a framework for water managers, legislators, and the public to consider options and make decisions regarding California's water future. The Plan evaluates current and future water conditions, challenges and opportunities. It presents basic data and information on California's water resources including water supply evaluations and assessments of existing and future agricultural, urban, and environmental water uses. The Plan identifies and evaluates multiple future scenarios and nearly 30 resource management strategies such as conservation, recycling, desalination, transfers, storage, conveyance, quality, watershed management, ecosystem restoration, and urban land use management to help meet future demands in light of uncertainties and unexpected catastrophic events. This program also identifies ways for the state to: (1) help local agencies and governments prepare integrated regional water management plans on a watershed basis and diversify their regional water portfolios to ensure sustainable water uses, reliable water supplies, better water quality, environmental stewardship, efficient urban development, protection of agriculture, and a strong economy, (2) help cities, counties and local agencies prepare a Water Element for their General Plans, Urban Water Management Plans and Agricultural Water Management Plans, and (3} help local agencies and governments improve coordination between water and land use planning.


The State Water Project is a water storage and delivery system that consists of 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes, 20 pumping plants, 4 pumping-generating plants, 5 hydroelectric power plants, and over 700 miles of channels, canals and pipelines. The Project provides water to over 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

The Department plans, designs, constructs, operates, maintains, and manages State Water Project facilities which provide State Water Project water supply to a network of physical facilities located from Plumas County to the Mexican Border.

The Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program is charged with improving the Delta ecosystem and ensuring water supply reliability in a safe, timely, and cost effective manner. This includes development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, project specific conservation measures, and the Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement.


This program protects life and property from damage by floods, ensures proper construction and maintenance of jurisdictional dams and levees, and provides funding for the construction. Activities include assessing the state and regional investment needs to reduce risk, preventive floodplain management to discourage unwise use of areas subject to flooding, protection of floodplains, issuance of flood warnings, operation of flood control facilities, coordination and supervision of flood fight activities, and annual levee and flood channel maintenance and inspection in cooperation with other local, state, and federal partner agencies. This program also buys land, easements, and rights-of-way for federal flood control projects and supervises the design and construction of new dams and periodic inspection and reevaluation of all existing jurisdictional dams for proper operation and maintenance. Fiscal oversight and coordination activities associated with the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006 are administered under this program. The program also reviews federal dam projects in coordination with federal and other state agencies with regard to dam safety.


The Central Valley Flood Protection Board has regulatory authority over the State Plan of Flood Control facilities (SPPC), designated floodways and regulated streams in the Central Valley. The Board regulates encroachments on the system by issuing permits and initiating enforcement action when necessary to maintain the integrity of the levees and floodways that protect the valley's people and property. The Board services as the non-federal sponsor to the United States Army Corps of Engineers on large joint state-federal levee improvement projects and assists the more than one hundred local maintaining agencies that operate and maintain the SPFC, The Board conducts regular public meetings, hearings, workshops and tours, providing a public forum for stakeholders.


This program provides technical support within the Department and expertise in the fields of water resources planning, development and management; watermaster services; scientific analyses performed by DWR's chemical laboratory; information technology; and mapping, surveying and engineering services for other agencies.


For a limited period of time, this program purchased electric power on behalf of the state's investor-owned utilities. Beginning January 1, 2003, the utility companies resumed responsibility for purchasing power from the spot market. The utilities, however, continue to receive power from the Department's long-term energy contracts with energy suppliers, under which the Department retains legal and financial responsibility. Additionally, the Department retains the legal and financial responsibility for administering $7.128 billion in revenue bonds issued to repay the General Fund for money borrowed for power purchases during the energy crisis and funding of reserve accounts necessary to maintain an investment grade credit rating associated with the revenue bonds.