California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California Water Plan

What is the California Water Plan?

Water Drop Closeup

Photo by Department of Water Resources

The California Water Plan is developed by staff from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and other agencies, including CDFW, through rigorous public involvement and State and federal agency coordination processes. The California Water Plan provides a collaborative planning framework for elected officials, agencies, tribes, water and resource managers, businesses, academia, stakeholders, and the public to develop findings and recommendations and make informed decisions for California's water future. The plan, updated every five years, presents the status and trends of California's water-dependent natural resources; water supplies; and agricultural, urban, and environmental water demands for a range of plausible future scenarios. The California Water Plan also evaluates different combinations of regional and statewide resource management strategies to reduce water demand, increase water supply, reduce flood risk, improve water quality, and enhance environmental and resource stewardship. The evaluations and assessments performed for the plan help identify effective actions and policies for meeting California's resource management objectives in the near term and for several decades to come.

CDFW's Role in the California Water Plan

As trustee for California’s fish and wildlife resources, CDFW has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitat necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species. In support of that trustee role, CDFW participates in various advisory committees responsible for guidance and development of the California Water Plan (Water Plan). CDFW provides input to DWR on environmental water needs, including water use, and water quality. CDFW’s role in the development of the Water Plan is to identify opportunities to increase fish, wildlife, and other environmental benefits associated with state programs. For each update of the Water Plan, updated information is required from CDFW about the state’s water needs for fish and wildlife resources.

Program Structure & Key Activities

CDFW created a Water Branch in 2008 to better define and assist in implementing the full complement of water functions and programs across the state. Whether it is water associated with our wildlife areas and ecological reserves, ensuring sufficient water in streams to support and stabilize fish populations, or interacting in a regulatory context with other state and federal agencies to promote water for fish and wildlife, water is a central issue in many CDFW programs. As part of the Water Branch’s Statewide Water Planning Unit, the California Water Plan Program coordinates closely with CDFW’s regional offices and headquarters to provide data and information to the Water Plan about the water needs of the state’s terrestrial and aquatic biological resources. Key activities include:

  • Data for the preparation of regional profiles for different areas of the state.
  • Information for development of integrated resource management strategies.
  • Assistance with the development of analytical tools, future scenarios, and informational packages.

California Water Plan Link

Department of Water Resources, California Water Plan