public affairs


Mark Cowin

Mark W. Cowin, Director
Department of Water Resources

Mark W. Cowin was re-appointed Director for the California Department of Water Resources by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on April 13, 2012. Mr. Cowin has extensive experience with California water resources management and has served as Director of DWR since 2010. He has worked at DWR since 1981.

As DWR Director, Mr. Cowin heads a Department that protects, conserves and manages the state's water supply, including operation of the California State Water Project. The SWP is the largest state-run, multi-purpose water and power system in the United States. It provides a supplemental water source for more than 25 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland and directly sustains over $400 billion of the state's economy.

DWR forecasts future water needs, evaluates and inventories existing water supplies, explores conservation and storage options, and supervises flood management, including emergency response to floods. In recent years, with the passage of Propositions 1E and 84, DWR has the additional responsibility of administering over $5 billion in bond funding for the purposes of flood protection and ecosystem restoration.

Faced with the challenges of population growth and changing climate, DWR is taking an active role in the promotion of sustainable resource management through its implementation of grants and other programs. DWR also plays a major role in the management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and is committed to achieving the goal of a healthy, resilient Delta.

Prior to his appointment as Director, Mr. Cowin served as Deputy Director of Integrated Water Management for DWR. His primary responsibilities included overseeing DWR's flood management and dam safety programs, implementing Integrated Regional Water Management, coordinating DWR's efforts related to climate change, and updating and implementing the California Water Plan.

In previous assignments, Mr. Cowin served for five years as Chief of DWR's Division of Planning and Local Assistance and was responsible for the state's strategic planning for water management and for providing technical and financial assistance for water management to local agencies and communities. Mr. Cowin also served as an Assistant Director for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program where he was responsible for the Bay-Delta Program's water management planning activities. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 1980.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:
California Department of Water Resources
P.O. Box 942836, Room 1115-1
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001

Street Address:
1416 - 9th Street, Room 1115-1
Sacramento, CA 95814

Janiene Friend, Administrative Assistant
Telephone: (916) 653-7007
E-Mail Address:
Mailing Address: Same as above