State Agencies Track Five Years of Progress on California Water Action Plan

Published Date:

SACRAMENTO – The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture today released a California Water Action Plan implementation report outlining five years of progress toward sustainable management of California’s water resources.

Issued at the direction of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in January 2014 and updated in 2016, the California Water Action Plan set forth 10 priority actions that guide the state’s effort to create more resilient, reliable water systems and to restore critical ecosystems. The actions are:

  1. Make conservation a California way of life;
  2. Increase regional self-reliance and integrated water management across all levels of government;
  3.  Achieve the co-equal goals for the Delta;
  4. Protect and restore important ecosystems;
  5. Manage and prepare for dry periods;
  6. Expand water storage capacity and improve groundwater management;
  7. Provide safe water for all communities;
  8. Increase flood protection;
  9. Increase operational and regulatory efficiency;
  10. Identify sustainable and integrated financing opportunities.

“California has embraced an all-of-the-above portfolio of actions to combat our most urgent water supply challenges while building a more resilient future,” California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said. “Using the Water Action Plan as a blueprint, we have coordinated efforts and made strategic investments to move the needle on sustainable water management.”

“The California Water Action Plan has guided our water conservation efforts for five years, including during the worst drought in modern California history,” said Matthew Rodriquez, California Secretary for Environmental Protection. “The plan continues to be relevant today and provides necessary direction and policy guidance as we strive to improve our water storage alternatives in the face of climate change, while also working collaboratively to balance the needs of water users and the environment in areas like the fragile Bay-Delta ecosystem.”

“California’s farmers and ranchers have been strong partners in the push for water sustainability,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “From participating in water-saving programs through California Climate Investments to embracing the essential nature of groundwater management, agriculture is once again showing its commitment to collaboration and innovation.”

The implementation report released today shows significant progress toward reaching the broad objectives of the Water Action Plan, including taking major steps to bolster water supply resiliency and prepare the state for a changing climate. Even as the state careened from five years of severe drought to record-breaking rainfall and flood emergencies, advances were made on all 10 priority actions.

Highlights include:

  • Investing in more than 1,100 projects through voter-approved Proposition 1 of 2014, including conditionally awarding nearly $2.7 billion in water storage projects that would boost California’s water storage capacity by 4.3 million acre-feet. In total, $6.6 billion in Proposition 1 funding has been appropriated and committed to various projects as of December 2018.
  • Weathering the deepest drought in modern history while providing emergency drinking water supplies in critical areas and funding water recycling, safe drinking water and other projects to create resiliency needed for future droughts and climate change.
  • Working with stakeholders to create a framework for eliminating water waste, improving water use efficiency and drought-proofing local and regional water supply portfolios.
  • Advancing a critical upgrade to the state’s water infrastructure through California WaterFix, which marked several key implementation milestones.
  • Accelerating habitat restoration and enhancement in the Delta by breaking ground on numerous projects on the way to restoring at least 30,000 acres by 2020 through the California EcoRestore initiative.
  • Implementing the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 and meeting key milestones in helping local agencies strengthen groundwater management and meet new sustainability goals.
  • Investing $1.5 billion in urban flood risk reduction projects, enhancing flood protection for 1.2 million people, more than $100 billion in assets and more than 560,00 acres of property.

More information on the California Water Action Plan is available at


Media Contacts

Tony Andersen
California Natural Resources Agency

Kirsten Macintyre
California Natural Resources Agency

Alex Barnum
California Environmental Protection Agency
(916) 324-9670

Steve Lyle
California Department of Food and Agriculture
(916) 654-0462