Climate Change Program

Climate change is having a profound impact on California’s water resources, as evidenced by greater weather extremes, reduced snowpack, higher sea level, and changes in river flows. Models predict that more precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow, exacerbating flood risks and creating additional challenges for water supply reliability. These impacts are expected to intensify in the future.

Managing climate change and its impact of water supply is one of DWR’s core values. DWR’s climate change program implements climate mitigation and adaptation measures to ensure that Californians have an adequate water supply, reliable flood control, and healthy ecosystems, now and in the future. Our efforts to address climate change focus on:

  •  Raising awareness about the connection between water and energy use; reducing the use of one also reduces the other.
  • Partnering with other efforts to support adaptation to climate impacts that are already occurring.   
  • Compiling resources for water management practitioners who need to incorporate climate considerations into their plans and projects.   
  • Funding climate monitoring and research  
  • Developing water sector policies and management practices to support California’s comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges posed by climate change.  

Datasets and tools

Climate Change Technical Advisory Group

Climate change scenarios developed for WSIP provide statewide data for expected 2030 and 2070 conditions including temperature, precipitation, runoff, evapotranspiration, snow water equivalent, soil moisture, and water deliveries.

Climate Change Technical Advisory Group:

DWR convened the Climate Change Technical Advisory Group (CCTAG) to inform DWR’s planning and analytical processes with the latest scientific data. The CCTAG brought together a diverse collaboration of technical, planning, and legal experts from academia, local government, and the private sector. Ultimately, the group recommended the use of 10 Global Climate Models that most skillfully simulate conditions important for California water resources management and planning. Data, charts, and tools from these models are available from, the state’s public repository of climate data and information produced by the State of California’s scientific and research community.

Data and modeling also drive our analysis of climate change impacts on local water resource systems DWR has developed datasets and tools for the Proposition 1 Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).Datasets provide gridded temperature, precipitation, runoff, snowpack, streamflow, and water deliveries from the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project under expected 2030 conditions as well as expected and extreme 2070 conditions.

Climate Action Plan

To mitigate future climate impacts, we have developed a Climate Action Plan to guide the Department’s programs, projects, and activities in response to a changing climate. The Plan comprises three phases, the first of which was the development of our award-winning Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan. The other two phases, near completion, consist of standardizing the Department’s climate change analysis tools and assessing our assets’ vulnerabilities to climate change.


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