May 13, 2021 - For the second consecutive year, the state is experiencing extremely low rates of precipitation. As we prepare for what could be an extended period of dry conditions, it is helpful to review how the state responded to the last major drought. Such information can inform—and thereby potentially improve—the state’s current and ongoing response to developing conditions. In this report, we summarize the major activities, spending, and policy actions undertaken by the state to respond to the severe drought that occurred from 2012 through 2016. We also describe current conditions, and highlight some key lessons the Legislature can learn from previous efforts to help guide its response to the emerging drought.
May 5, 2021 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife Hon. Eduardo Garcia, Chair
November 21, 1991 - Despite heavy rains in March 1991, California continues to face a serious near-term water problem resulting from five years of drought. In fact, the amount of water in storage on October 1, 1991 was about equal to the amount in storage one year ago—a year in which strict conservation measures were imposed in some areas and there were significant reductions in water supplies for many agricultural users. In this paper, we provide background information on California's water system, the impact of the drought, water needs in the future, and legislative options for coping with water supply limitations.
March 8, 2017 - For the past two years, urban water agencies in California have been submitting monthly data on residential water use to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The monthly update covering December 2016 was recently published on the board’s website, providing a full year of data for 2016. This web post discusses trends in residential water use and what these data imply for policymakers in the coming year.
March 26, 2019 - Presented to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
February 12, 2015 - Presented to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Hon. Mark Leno, Chair
October 20, 2008 - California’s water delivery system is facing a series of challenges due in part to a combination of increasingly variable weather conditions, legal requirements, and system operation and conveyance constraints. These challenges affect water availability, reliability, and delivery. Recent public and private efforts have sought ways to address these challenges. These measures include proposals to increase water through groundwater storage, surface storage, infrastructure changes, and system operation improvements, among others. This report provides, through a “quick reference” document relying heavily on charts to present information, a snapshot of water in California, including: (1) An Overview of California’s Water Governance; (2) Water Supply, Source, and Delivery; (3) How Do We Finance Water Projects? (4) What Drives the Cost of Water?, and (5) Issues for Legislative Consideration
May 17, 2015 -
August 29, 2018 - The Salton Sea is California’s largest inland lake, located in Riverside and Imperial Counties. In this report, we discuss the changing conditions in and around the Sea, their statewide importance, and the Legislature’s role in overseeing projects to reduce potential negative effects on public health and wildlife.
January 15, 2015 - The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is a biodiverse ecosystem that covers about 1,150 square miles and supports over 700 species of fish and wildlife. The Delta is an important source of water for the state and is used to convey water from Northern California to Southern California. The Delta faces several significant problems, including: (1) a decline in key native fish species, (2) reductions in the amount of Delta water available for use elsewhere, (3) water pollutants that cause harm to species and increase treatment costs, and (4) levees at significant risk of failure. The state has engaged in numerous efforts to address these problems and achieve its "coequal goals" for the Delta: water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration. There are many opportunities for the Legislature to improve the success of these efforts. We identified several issues for its consideration, including (1) demands for Delta water, (2) uncertain funding sources and slow implementation of some key activities, (3) limits on the effectiveness of governance in the Delta, and (4) challenges to restoring the Delta ecosystem. By addressing some of these issues, the Legislature can improve the likelihood that its goals and objectives for the Delta will be realized.
March 22, 2017 - This report is intended to provide basic information about floods and flood management in California. (Whereas previous generations referred to “flood control” or “flood prevention” activities, experts now prefer the term “flood management” in acknowledgement that floodwaters are recurring and inevitable.) We begin by summarizing the history, causes, and risk of floods across the state. We then describe flood management agencies, infrastructure, and strategies, as well as how governmental agencies typically respond when floods occur. Next, we describe the spending levels and funding sources currently supporting flood management efforts, as well as estimates for how much additional funding may be needed to improve those efforts. We conclude by highlighting some key challenges confronting the state in contemplating how best to manage floods in California.
February 11, 2015 - In August 2014, the Legislature approved Chapter 188, Statutes of 2014 (AB 1471, Rendon), which placed before the voters a water bond measure primarily aimed at increasing the supply of clean, safe, and reliable water and restoring habitat. On November 4, 2014, voters approved the water bond measure—Proposition 1. In this report, we (1) describe Proposition 1, (2) review the Governor’s proposals to implement the bond, (3) identify key implementation principles, and (4) recommend steps for the Legislature to ensure that the bond is implemented effectively.