Watershed Resilience Program

Graphic of Watershed Networks for Equitable Multi-Sector Collaboration
Watershed Networks

-Graphic showing the many partners involved in watershed networks for equitable multi-sector collaboration and the climate resilience challenges they face.

To better prepare and plan for a future with climate extremes, the California Water Plan Update 2023 underscores the importance of building watershed-based solutions, climate resilience, and equity statewide by collaborating with local partners.


To help implement these strategies, the Watershed Resilience Program will advance a vision and framework described in the California Water Plan 2023 by providing financial and technical support to improve regional resilience. The program will build on previous regional planning efforts.


Key aspects of this approach are:


  • Holistically study, plan, and manage water from headwaters to groundwater to outflow, at a watershed scale.
  • Integrate and prioritize equity and inclusiveness.
  • Analyze climate vulnerabilities/risks and potential adaptations at the defined watershed scale.
  • Plan and collaborate across water supply, flood, groundwater, water quality, forest/fire, ecosystem, and land use sectors.
  • Develop and apply performance indicators and metrics to measure, track, and report on outcomes at the regional and statewide level.


The watershed resilience approach supports the Newsom Administration’s policies and priorities, including California’s Water Supply Strategy (2022) and the California Water Resilience Portfolio (2020), focusing on climate urgency, building regional resilience through multibenefit projects, integrated resource management, and nature-based solutions — all with a strong focus on resilience and equity.


Funding and Program Implementation

The Budget Acts of 2021 and 2022 provided funding for DWR to implement the watershed resilience program. As a first step in that implementation, DWR is conducting a small set of five pilot planning projects to test and apply the watershed resilience approach in various representative regional settings in the state and lay the foundation for future efforts. The awards for the five pilots can be viewed here.

DWR released the 2024 Watershed Resilience Program Guidelines on January 25, 2024. The document provides general information and establishes the procedures that the DWR will use to implement the Watershed Resilience Program.



2024 Watershed Resilience Program Guidelines