Department of Water Resources Home

System Reoperation Program


Ajay Goyal,
Program Manager

Dept of Water Resources
901 P St., Room 213 A
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001
Phone: (916) 651-9241


Ted Thomas,
Public Information Officer

Dept of Water Resources
1416 9th St, Room 252-20
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 653-9712

System Reoperation Program

Map of California Waterways Groundwater Aerial of Harvey Banks Pumping Plant Aerial of Lake Oroville Delta Sandbags chinook salmon California Aqueduct

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is conducting a system reoperation study (SRS) in cooperation with other State and federal agencies, local water districts, groundwater managers, and other stakeholders, to identify potential strategies for reoperation of the statewide flood protection and water supply systems. The opportunity to reoperate portions of California’s statewide water system to yield increased water resources-related benefits was recognized by the State Legislature in Senate Bill X2 1 (SB X2 1) (Perata, 2008 – Water Code Section 83002(b)(6)(B)(i).

In support of the legislative objectives, DWR developed the SRS to identify viable reoperation strategies and understand how integrated management can:

  • Improve the reliability of municipal and irrigation water supply
  • Reduce flood hazards
  • Restore and protect ecosystem function and habitat conditions
  • Buffer the hydrologic variations expected from climate change
  • Improve water quality

California’s water supply and flood management infrastructure is physically interconnected to the extent that it is technically feasible to move water around the system from Trinity County in the north to Imperial County in the south. However, the management of the water system is not as well integrated as it could be. The underlying logic of the SRS is that California can do much more with its existing water infrastructure by taking advantage of the physical interconnections (and enhancing them) while also operating the system in a coordinated manner to optimize the benefits.

The current focus of the SRS is the Central Valley because this region has the highest integration of water supply and flood management facilities. Additionally, the greatest potential for ecosystem restoration through infrastructure reoperation is found in the Central Valley because the existing infrastructure has had a profound effect on aquatic ecosystems.

Development of the SRS is a multi-phased effort that includes:

  • Phase 1 – Plan of Study (Completed in 2011)
  • Phase 2 – Strategy Formulation and Refinement  (Completed in 2014)
  • Phase 3 – Preliminary Assessments of Strategies (To be Completed in 2015)
  • Phase 4 – Reconnaissance Level Assessments of Strategies (To be Completed in 2016)