The California Water Plan provides a broad set of resource management strategies (RMSs) that can help local agencies and governments manage their water and related resources. The RMSs can be a technique, program, or policy that can be used to meet water-related management needs of a region and the state as a whole. The 30-plus RMSs provide a comprehensive suite of tools that can be used to achieve a variety of intended outcomes by utilizing a diverse mix of strategies.
Resource Management Strategies
The RMSs can be considered as tools in a toolkit. Just as the mix of tools in any given kit depend on the job to be accomplished, the combination of strategies will vary from region to region, depending on climate, projected growth, existing water system, environmental and social conditions, and regional goals. At the local level, it's important the proposed strategies complement the operation of existing water systems. Some strategies may have little value in certain regions. Other strategies may have little value in particular conditions. For example, precipitation enhancement may not be effective during drought.
While most of the RMSs have multiple potential benefits, each area of California needs to select the right mix of strategies to achieve their intended outcomes. Actual RMS benefits depend on how the strategies are implemented. It's important to note that the water supply benefits of the RMSs are not additive. Although presented individually, the RMSs are alternatives that can complement each other or compete for limited system capacity, funding, water supplies, or other components necessary for implementation. Assumptions, methods, data, and local conditions vary per strategy. For this reason, the estimated benefits and costs should not be used to prioritize actions, policies, or proportion of State investment.
The RMSs are grouped into 8 different management objectives. For example, if you are looking for a way to improve water quality, look under the Improve Water Quality management objective.
Introduction and Other Strategies
Introduction (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
RMSs have multiple potential benefits and each area of California needs to select the right mix of strategies to achieve their intended outcomes. Actual RMS benefits depend on how the strategies are implemented.
Other Strategies (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
This narrative highlights a variety of water management strategies that can potentially generate benefits that meet one or more water management objectives, such as water supply augmentation or water quality enhancements. However, these management strategies have limited capacity to strategically address longterm regional water planning needs. These are unique strategies and do not fit into the other classified strategies.
Reduce Water Demand
Agricultural Water Use Efficiency | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
The agricultural water use efficiency strategy describes the use and application of scientific processes to control agricultural water delivery and use to achieve a beneficial outcome.
Urban Water Use Efficiency | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Once viewed and invoked primarily as a temporary strategy in response to a drought or emergency water shortage situation, water use efficiency has become a permanent part of the long-term management of California’s water supply.
Improve Flood Management
Flood Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
This flood management strategy provides local and regional water managers a broader perspective of the flood management tools that are available and their interrelationships within one report.
Improve Operational Efficiency and Transfers
Conveyance - Delta (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Conveyance provides for the movement of water, geographically connecting the supply to the demand. The Delta is a centerpiece of California’s water system.
Conveyance - Regional and Local (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Conveyance provides for the movement of water, geographically connecting the supply to the demand. Regional and local water supply conveyance is discussed in this resource management strategy report.
System Reoperation (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
System reoperation in the context of water resources means changing existing operation and management procedures for a water resources system consisting of supply and conveyance facilities and end user demands with the goal of increasing desired benefits from the system.
Water Transfers (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Water transfers are a form of flexible system reoperation linked to many other water management strategies, including surface water and groundwater storage, conjunctive management, conveyance efficiency, water use efficiency, water quality improvements, and planned crop shifting or crop idling for the specific purpose of transferring water
Increase Water Supply
Conjunctive Management and Groundwater (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Conjunctive management or conjunctive use refers to the coordinated and planned use and management of both surface water and groundwater resources to maximize the availability and reliability of water supplies in a region to meet various management objectives. Surface water and groundwater resources typically differ significantly in their availability, quality, management needs, and development and use costs. Managing both resources together, rather than in isolation, allows water managers to use the advantages of both resources for maximum benefit.
Desalination - Brackish and Sea Water (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Desalination, the removal of salts from saline waters, is one of the few options available to augment California’s water supply.
Municipal Recycled Water (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Municipal recycled water benefits the state and individual water users by reducing long-distance water conveyance needs, providing local water supplies, and being a drought-resistant resource. This resource management strategy report will describe the current status of recycled water in California, what some of the challenges are to its increasing use, and the resources needed to continue to increase municipal recycled water use.
Precipitation Enhancement (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Precipitation enhancement, commonly called “cloud seeding,” artificially stimulates clouds to produce more rainfall or snowfall than they would produce naturally.
Surface Storage - CALFED and State (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Surface storage is the term for the use of human-made, above-ground reservoirs to collect water for later release when needed. Surface storage has played a key role in California where the quantity, timing, and location of water demand frequently does not match the natural water supply availability. This strategy focuses on statewide options.
Surface Storage - Regional and Local (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Surface storage is the term for the use of human-made, above-ground reservoirs to collect water for later release when needed. Surface storage has played a key role in California where the quantity, timing, and location of water demand frequently does not match the natural water supply availability. This strategy focuses on regional and local options.
Improve Water Quality
Drinking Water Treatment and Distribution (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Providing a reliable supply of safe drinking water is the primary goal of public water systems in California. To achieve this goal, public water systems must develop and maintain adequate water treatment and distribution facilities.
Groundwater and Aquifer Remediation (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Groundwater remediation removes constituents, hereafter called contaminants, which affect beneficial use of groundwater. Groundwater remediation systems can employ passive or active methods to remove contaminants.
Matching Water Quality to Use (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Matching water quality to use is a management strategy that recognizes that not all water uses require the same water quality. One common measure of water quality is its suitability for an intended use; a water quality constituent often is only considered a contaminant when that constituent adversely affects the intended use of the water.
Pollution Prevention (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Pollution prevention can be defined as the reducing or eliminating of waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less toxic substances, the implementation of practices or conservation techniques including activities that reduce the generation and/or discharge of the pollutants, and the application of innovative and alternative technologies which prevent pollutants from entering the environment prior to treatment.
Salt and Salinity Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Salinity management not only reduces salt loads that impact a region, it is also a key component of securing, maintaining, and recovering usable water supplies. Salt is ubiquitous throughout the environment and it is a conservative constituent meaning it is never destroyed, just concentrated or diluted and transported.
Urban Stormwater Runoff Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Urban stormwater runoff management is a broad series of activities to manage both stormwater and dryweather runoff.
Practice Resource Stewardship
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Agricultural Land Stewardship (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
This resource management strategy focuses primarily on private land in agriculture including cultivated land and rangeland.
Ecosystem Restoration (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Ecosystem restoration improves the condition of California’s modified natural landscapes and biological communities to provide for their sustainability and for their use and enjoyment by current and future generations.
Forest Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Forest management activities can affect water quantity and quality. This strategy focuses on forest management activities, on both public and privately-owned forest lands, whose goals specifically include improvement of the availability and quality of water for downstream users.
Land Use Planning and Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Land use planning and management cuts across many resource management strategies. More efficient and effective land use is linked to several resource management strategies including watershed, water use efficiency, groundwater quality, flood management, parks and recreation, climate change adaptive management, and agricultural lands stewardship.
Recharge Area Protection (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Recharge areas are those areas that provide the primary means of replenishing groundwater. Good natural recharge areas are those where good quality surface water is able to percolate through the sediments and rocks to the saturated zone which contains groundwater. If recharge areas cease to function properly, it will limit groundwater replenishment and/or groundwater quality for storage or use.
Sediment Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Sediment in California is a valuable resource when it is properly managed, which results in multiple water benefits, environmental health, economic stability, and coastal safety.
Watershed Management (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Watershed management is the process of creating and implementing plans, programs, projects, and activities to restore, sustain, and enhance watershed functions. These functions provide the goods, services, and values desired by the human community that are affected by conditions within a watershed.
People and Water
Economic Incentives (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Economic incentives include financial assistance, water pricing, and water market policies intended to influence water management. Economic incentives can influence the amount and time of water use, wastewater volume, and source of water supply.
Outreach and Engagement (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
Outreach and engagement for water management in California is use of tools and practices by water agencies to facilitate contributions by public individuals and groups toward good water management outcomes.
Water and Culture (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
This resource management strategy report presents the emerging thinking of many California Water Plan Advisory Committee members and other stakeholders regarding the importance of linking cultural considerations to water management.
Water-Dependent Recreation (PDF) | (Revision Date: (Publish Date:
By planning for water-dependent recreation activities in water projects, water managers play a critical role in ensuring that all Californians today and into the future are able to enjoy such activities.
- Water Resource Management Strategies
- Agriculture and Land Stewardship Framework
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