Water Use & Efficiency

Department of Water Resources California State Fair display shows step-by-step examples of how to replace grass turf with water efficient plants.

Our California State Fair display shows step-by-step examples of how to replace grass turf with water efficient plants. DWR/2017.

Efficient water use and management is critical for all California residents, agencies, and businesses. As our population increases and the climate changes, we may not have enough water to support all of our needs and California's extraordinary environment if we aren't careful.

To ensure we have enough water now and in the future, we need to make water conservation a California way of life. Through partnerships, grant and loan programs, and research and data analysis, the Water Use and Efficiency Branch (WUE) works with agencies and individuals to provide assistance for improving water use efficiency and developing and meeting efficient water use requirements, including:

WUE also has 2 important programs that provide tools and data for managing water use:

  • California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) provides reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and weather data to the public for irrigation scheduling, water balance analyses, pest management, energy generation, firefighting, weather forecasting, and scientific research.
  • Land and Water Use program collects land use data and develops water use estimates used in a variety of statewide water planning efforts.

WUE serves as a leader in important water conservation legislation, regulations, and Executive Order directives.


  • The Water Desalination Grant Program provides grants to local agencies for the planning, design, and construction of water desalination facilities for both brackish and ocean water. We also provide grants for pilot, demonstration, and research projects.
  • The California Turf Replacement Initiative provides rebates for removing turf and replacing it with landscapes that require little water at California single-family residences to support the State's drought response.
  • The Water Use Efficiency Financial Assistance Program helps urban and agricultural communities cope with water shortages and drought conditions by providing funding to agencies for the implementation of water use efficiency projects that would achieve water savings, provide improved operational efficiencies, and provide water quality improvements, energy savings, and environmental benefits.