Resources for Water Managers

As the atmosphere warms and impacts the hydrologic cycle, developing resiliency strategies to prepare for climate change is crucial. We encourage water resource managers to minimize greenhouse gas emissions to halt manmade global warming, assess the potential future impacts of climate change on their resources, and develop planning strategies for adapting to these impacts while building resiliency in their communities.

DWR Climate Action Plan

The DWR Climate Action Plan can help water managers structure an approach to considering climate change by understanding our approach to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions, conducting climate change modeling for its projects, and addressing the vulnerabilities of its properties. 

Climate Change Mitigation: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Water Sector


Creating an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions is essential for quantifying current emissions and progressively working to reduce those emissions. We are not requiring, prescribing or recommending any of the following greenhouse gas calculators, but rather are being provided for informational purposes.


The Climate Registry provides third party verification of greenhouse gas emissions to help agencies to report and reduce their emissions. Additionally, we partnered with The Climate Registry to develop the voluntary registry Water Energy Nexus Registry for reporting emissions resulting from the water supply and distribution.


Climate Change Vulnerabilities: Assessing Risk

Assessing the risk of infrastructure systems becoming inoperable or negatively affected by climate-related impacts is the first step to addressing adaptation. It requires understanding the foreseeable changes the system will face and determining if those impacts will cause the system to fail. While the
California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment contains a more comprehensive evaluation of vulnerabilities impacting the entire state, below are resources for anticipated risks most threatening to water systems. 

  • Sea Level Rise 

    The Ocean Protection Council has provided Sea Level Rise Guidance with a science-based methodology for analyzing and incorporating sea level rise into planning and decision making.

  • Wildfire 

    CAL Fire has created the Fire Hazard Severity Zones to illustrate the location and the severity of fire-prone areas within Locally Responsibility Areas.

Climate Change Adaptation: Incorporating Climate Change into Water Management Planning

Agricultural and Urban Water Management Planning

The guidance documents Considering Climate Change Impacts in Agricultural Water Management Planning and Considering Climate Change Impacts in Urban Water Management Planning describe common approaches to incorporating climate change into water management planning. While these guidances are not prescriptive, they provide a discussion of the decision-making process helpful in determining which tools and analytical approaches will work best for a given water supplier’s particular needs.

Integrated Regional Water Management

The Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program promotes collaboration amongst local and regional water resource managers to solve water supply reliability issues, including within the context of a changing climate. The Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning provides strategies for adapting to climate change and considerations for incorporating climate change analysis into IRWM plans and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents.


Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is intended to develop and implement sustainable groundwater planning and projects to protect groundwater resources over the long term. The Guidance for Climate Change Data Use During Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development was created to provide Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) with climate change datasets and related tools to develop projected water budgets.

Regional Flood Management Plans for Flood Control Agencies

To provide insight to local water managers on regional strategies to balance flood protection with population demands and ecological needs, the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan is California's strategic blueprint for improving flood risk management in the Central Valley. The Quick Guide Coastal Appendix: Planning for Sea-Level Rise contains an iterative planning process for addressing the effects of sea level rise in community mitigation plans. The Roadmap for a Climate Resilient Forecasting Framework aims to transition statistical forecasting tools into spatially explicit, climate informed modeling tools that DWR can access in an integrated forecast platform that allows for easier visual inspection of observed conditions to serve as a decision support dashboard.

Climate Data to Support Planning Documents
Hydrological Changes Climate Change Models

The annual California Hydroclimate Report is a DWR publication highlighting weather and climate events of each water year and visualization of long-term hydroclimate trends with a collection of indicators important to water resources for tracking climate change.

The Indicators of Climate Change in California are scientifically-based measurements that track trends in various aspects of climate change.


The California Climate Tracker supports climate monitoring by allowing users to generate maps and graphs of temperature and precipitation by region.


Water supply conditions at the local level can be viewed on California Water Watch.


The U. S. Divisional Climate Data generates time series and graphs of temperature and precipitation for climate divisions in the United States.

Cal Adapt contains a variety of climate change indicators and generates climate models for California regions that can serve as a resource for research and adaptation planning.

DWR developed a stochastic weather generator model for California that produces diverse climate scenarios to aid water resources planning amidst uncertain climate change effects. Data and tools are published in California Natural Resources Agency Data Library.

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Data and Tools webpage contains climate change data as desktop tools to assist users with processing climate change projections into integrated hydrologic models.

The Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) assesses climate-related risks for water utility assets and provides a climate projection scenarios map.

Contact Us

Reach out to the team and connect with your climate change regional specialist. If you need project or planning assistance, have questions or comments, please contact us.