Water Resource Management Strategies

Sailfin mollies and juvenile tilapia swim in a drainage ditch that flows into the Salton Sea in Imperial County, California.

Sailfin mollies and juvenile tilapia swim in a drainage ditch that flows into the Salton Sea in Imperial County, California. ©DWR/2017

The California Water Plan provides a broad set of resource management strategies (RMSes) that can help local agencies and governments manage their water and related resources. The RMSes can be a technique, program, or policy that can be used to meet water-related management needs of a region and the state as a whole. The 30-plus RMSes provide a comprehensive suite of tools that can be used to achieve a variety of intended outcomes by utilizing a diverse mix of strategies.

Resource Management Strategies

The RMSes can be considered as tools in a toolkit. Just as the mix of tools in any given kit depend on the job to be accomplished, the combination of strategies will vary from region to region, depending on climate, projected growth, existing water system, environmental and social conditions, and regional goals. At the local level, it's important the proposed strategies complement the operation of existing water systems. Some strategies may have little value in certain regions. Other strategies may have little value in particular conditions. For example, precipitation enhancement may not be effective during drought.


While most of the RMSes have multiple potential benefits, each area of California needs to select the right mix of strategies to achieve their intended outcomes. Actual RMS benefits depend on how the strategies are implemented. It's important to note that the water supply benefits of the RMSes are not additive. Although presented individually, the RMSes are alternatives that can complement each other or compete for limited system capacity, funding, water supplies, or other components necessary for implementation. Assumptions, methods, data, and local conditions vary per strategy. For this reason, the estimated benefits and costs should not be used to prioritize actions, policies, or proportion of State investment.

Update 2023 - Public Review Draft

Draft cover image for the Introduction for the Updated RMSes. As part of the development of California Water Plan Update 2023 (Update 2023), 11 RMSes have been updated. The Update 2023 RMS updates reflect that climate change has driven water managers to develop and extend resource management for sustainability and resilience, and that social change has brought new focus to equity issues and community resilience. The new updates also illustrate how every strategy for managing water requires more consideration, skill, and sophistication to meet the demands of a decade of climate and social change. The RMS outline has also been revised to reflect Update 2023’s focus on three intersecting themes: addressing climate urgency, strengthening watershed resilience, and achieving equity in water management.

DWR has released a public review draft of the 11 RMSes on May 1, 2024, for a 30-day comment period. Comments received by May 31, 2024, will be used to inform the final versions of the strategies. Comments can be submitted by using an online comment form or via email at: cwpcom@water.ca.gov.

Additional information for submitting comments including postal mail is available in the Reviewer's Guide, which is also included in the updated RMS Introduction chapter. 

Please submit your comments by May 31, 2024If you have any questions, please contact us at cwpcom@water.ca.gov

Update 2013 Resource Management Strategies

Management Objectives

The RMSs are grouped into 8 different management objectives. For example, if you are looking for a way to improve water quality, look under the Improve Water Quality management objective.