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DWR Climate Action Plan


DWR Climate Action Plan

DWR performs a wide range of activities to support climate change analysis and adaptation planning by local and regional water managers, fund climate monitoring and research, and develop water sector policies and management practices to support California’s comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges posed by climate change. DWR is also leading by example in developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.  



DWR’s Climate Action Plan is divided into three phases:

Phase I is DWR’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan (GGERP), which covers how DWR will help mitigate the future impacts of climate change by reducing the GHG emissions from its activities. Phase I was completed in June 2012 when DWR Director Mark Cowin signed the adoption of the GGERP. DWR is currently implementing the GGERP and is on target to achieve major GHG reductions with the following goals:

Near-term—reduce emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Long-term—reduce emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Phase II is DWR’s framework and guidance for consistent incorporation and alignment of analysis for climate change impacts in its project and program planning activities. Climate change analysis can be extremely complex, including accounting for large uncertainties about the future climate and other important future conditions. This phase of the DWR Climate Action Plan, begun in 2012, will ensure that all DWR planning activities meet standards for quality, scientific rigor, and consistency.

DWR’s Climate Change Technical Advisory Group released Perspectives and Guidance for Climate Change Analysis in 2015, which serves as scientific foundational basis for Phase II guidance. In 2017, DWR released a draft framework to guide decision making and provide assistance to DWR managers as they incorporate climate change analyses into their planning for DWR activities, including strategic planning, investment decisions, risk assessments and infrastructure development.

Phase III is DWR’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan (VA/AP). This phase of the Climate Action Plan evaluates, describes, and where possible, quantifies the vulnerabilities of DWR’s assets and business activities to projected changes in temperature, wildfire, sea level rise, long-term and persistent hydrologic changes (including precipitation, snowpack runoff, and flooding) and habitat and ecosystem services degradation. The VA will serve as a foundation for the development of an Adaptation Plan to help prioritize DWR resiliency efforts such as infrastructure improvements, enhanced maintenance and operation procedures, revised health and safety procedures, and improved habitat management. Work on Phase III began in 2014. The Vulnerability Assessment portion of Phase III is being completed in 2017, with the Adaptation Plan following in 2018.