Environment and Natural Resources

Water Facts and Spending

California’s water system is complex. This complexity can be seen in how the system is structured—with multiple sources of water that are interconnected in various ways. It is also evident in how the system is financed—using a variety of sources at the local, state, and federal level to meet the needs of urban and agricultural water users and the environment. This web page provides some "quick reference" tables and graphics that illustrate some key elements of California's water system.

On this page:

HISTORY AND MANAGEMENT


Selected Events in State Water Policy History—Timeline

Selected Events in State Water Policy--A Timeline

 

Many Entities Are Involved in Water Management

Responsibilities

Water Supply

Water Quality

Flood Control

State Agencies

Department of Water Resources

X

X

State Water Resources Control Board

X

X

California Public Utilities Commission

X

X

Colorado River Board

X

Delta Stewardship Council

X

X

X

Department of Pesticide Regulation

X

Department of Toxic Substances Control

X

Department of Conservation

X

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

X

Federal Agencies

Bureau of Reclamation

X

X

Army Corps of Engineers

X

X

Environmental Protection Agency

X

Geological Survey

X

X

Other Entities

Cities and counties

X

X

X

Special districts

X

X

X

Tribal governments

X

X

X

Private water companies

X

For more information, please see our publication California’s Water: An LAO Primer

 

California's Water System Moves Water, Mainly from North to South

California's Water System Moves Water, Mainly from North to South

For more information, please see our publication Achieving State Goals for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta


DROUGHTS


Droughts Recur Periodically in California

Droughts Recur Periodically in California

 

Drought Conditions Improving, But Continue in Several Regions of the State

Drought Has Expanded, Intensified Across State

For more information, please see our publication The 2016-17 Budget: The State’s Drought Response

 

Use of Water Changes Significantly From Wet to Dry Years

Use of Water Changes Significantly From Wet to Dry Years

For more information, please see our publication California’s Water: An LAO Primer

 

State Drought Response Appropriations

(In Millions)

Department

Activity

2013-14

2014-15a

2015-16

2016-17

Totals

Water Supply

$480

$267

$1,488

$2,235

SWRCB

Clean up contaminated groundwater

783

783

DWR

Fund Integrated Regional Water Management projects

473

b

473

SWRCB

Improve/increase water recycling

132

161

b

293

SWRCB

Improve drinking water infrastructure

69

175

244

SWRCB

Improve/increase wastewater treatment systems

7

66

158

231

SWRCB

Improve/increase stormwater management

101

101

DWR

Support local sustainable groundwater management

60

60

DWR

Improve/increase water desalination

50

50

Emergency Response

108

213

183

235

739

CalFire

Expand/enhance fire protection

44

115

136

93

387

DSS

Provide food to drought-affected communities

25

22

18

66

OES

Provide emergency drinking water

22

23

45

DWR

Conduct drought assistance, monitoring, and response

1

28

12

41

SWRCB

Improve to drinking water systems

15

16

31

OES

Remove dead trees on public lands

30

30

SWRCB

Provide emergency drinking water

4

4

16

24

SWRCB

Enforce water rights and conservation regulations

3

11

1

5

20

CalFire

Remove and dispose of dead trees

16

16

HCD

Assist and relocate drought-affected households

10

6

16

CSD

Assist drought-impacted farmworkers

8

8

15

DWR

Assist with drinking water shortages

5

10

15

OES

Coordinate statewide drought response

2

9

4

15

DWR

Install/remove Delta emergency rock barriers

11

11

SWRCB

Monitor use/quality of groundwater

2

4

6

EDD

Provide job training in drought-affected communities

2

2

Water Conservation

54

44

177

4

280

DWR

Increase water efficiency and reduce energy use

30

20

20

70

CDFA

Increase agricultural water efficiency

10

10

40

60

DWR

Increase urban water conservation

56

56

DWR

Increase agricultural water conservation

42

42

DGS

Increase water efficiency at state facilities

5

15

20

CCC

Conduct conservation outreach

13

13

DWR

Save our Water campaign

1

3

4

2

10

DFW

Improve efficiency at wildlife refuges

5

2

7

CDFA

Study economic impact of drought

0.2

0.2

0.6

Environmental Protection

2

60

16

78

DFW

Emergency fish and stream activities

2

52

12

66

DFW

Protect Delta smelt

4

4

Parks

Eradicate water hyacinth

4

4

SWRCB

Study instream flows

2

2

DWR

Model Delta flows

1

1

Totals

$643

$584

$1,849

$255

$3,330

a Includes funding from the 2014-15 Budget Act and Chapter 1 of 2015 (AB 91, Committee on Budget).

b The 2016-17 Budget Act included additional funding for these activities but the administration did not characterize it as responding to the drought.

SWRCB = State Water Resources Control Board; DWR = Department of Water Resources; CalFire = California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; DSS = Department of Social Services; OES = Office of Emergency Services; HCD = Department of Housing and Community Development; CSD = Department of Community Services and Development; EDD = Employment Development Department; CDFA = Department of Food and Agriculture; DGS = Department of General Services; CCC = California Conservation Corps; DFW = Department of Fish and Wildlife; and Parks = Department of Parks and Recreation.

For more information, please see our publication The 2016-17 Budget: The State’s Drought Response


STATE BOND FUNDING


Water-Related General Obligation Bonds

1970-2014 (In Millions)

Year

Proposition
Number

Title

Amount
Authorized

1970

1

Clean Water Bond Law of 1970

$250

1974

2

Clean Water Bond Law of 1974

250

1976

3

California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1976

175

1978

2

Clean Water and Water Conservation Bond Law of 1978

375

1982

4

Lake Tahoe Acquisitions Bond Act

85

1984

2

California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1984

75

1984

28

Clean Water Bond Law of 1984

325

1984

19

Fish and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement of 1984

85

1986

55

California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1986

100

1986

44

Water Conservation and Water Quality Bond Law of 1986

150

1988

8

California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1986

75

1988

70

California Wildlife, Coastal, and Park Land Conservation Act

776

1988

83

Clean Water and Water Reclamation Bond Law of 1988

65

1988

82

Water Conservation Bond Law of 1988

60

1996

204

Safe, Clean, Reliable Water Supply Act

995

2000

13

Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection, and Flood Protection Act

1,970

2000

12

Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000

2,100

2002

40

California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002

2,600

2002

50

Water Security ,Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002

3,440

2006

1E

Disaster Preparedness and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2006

4,090

2006

84

Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006

5,388

2014

1

Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014

7,120

Total

$30,549

a Proposition 1 also repurposed a total of $425 million from Proposition 84, Proposition 1E, Proposition 50, Proposition 13, Proposition 204, and Proposition 44.

For more information, please see the California Natural Resources Agency's bond accountability webpage.

 

Summary of Proposition 1 Bond Funds

(In Millions)

Purpose

Implementing
Departments

Bond
Allocation

Prior
Appropriationsa

2016-17 Budget Act

Water Storage

$2,700

$5

$5

Water storage projects

CWCb

2,700

5

5

Watershed Protection and Restoration

$1,496

$173

$636

State obligations and agreements

CNRA

475

465

Watershed restoration statewide and Delta

DFW

373

37

57

Conservancy restoration projects

Conservancies

328

98

66

Enhanced stream flows

WCB

200

39

39

Los Angeles River restoration

Conservancies

100

Urban watersheds

CNRA

20

<1

9

Groundwater Sustainability

$900

$844

$1

Groundwater cleanup projects

SWRCB

800

784

Groundwater sustainability plans and projects

DWR

100

60

1

Regional Water Management

$810

$232

$58

Integrated Regional Water Management

DWR

510

33

55

Stormwater management

SWRCB

200

102

3

Water use efficiency

DWR

100

98

Water Recycling and Desalination

$725

$342

$321

Water recycling

SWRCB

725

292

320

Desalination

DWR

50

1

Drinking Water Quality

$520

$469

$5

Drinking water for disadvantaged communities

SWRCB

260

244

3

Wastewater treatment in small communities

SWRCB

260

225

2

Flood Protection

$395

Delta flood protection

DWR and CVFPB

295

Statewide flood protection

DWR and CVFPB

100

Administration and Oversight

$1

$1

Administrationc

DWR and CNRA

1

1

Totals

$7,546

$2,066

$1,027

a Includes $267 million from Chapter 1 of 2015 (AB 91, Committee on Budget) and $1.8 billion from the 2015-16 Budget Act.

b With staff support from DWR.

c Bond does not provide a specific allocation for bond administration and oversight, but allows a portion of other allocations to be used for this purpose.

CWC = California Water Commission; CNRA = California Natural Resources Agency; DFW = Department of Fish and Wildlife; WCB = Wildlife Conservation Board;
SWRCB = State Water Resources Control Board; DWR = Department of Water Resources; and CVFPB = Central Valley Flood Protection Board.


Last Updated: December 2016