The Department is committed to the following core values to guide our work:
DWR’s Workplace Safety Project is under way to create a comprehensive department-wide safety program. This effort is designed to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, cooperating agencies, and the visiting public at all DWR locations throughout California. The goal of the project is to reduce accidents and injuries and ensure uniformity and compliance with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. Ultimately, DWR is committed to a goal of developing a world class safety program and an organizational safety culture.
DWR’s daily operations recognize the importance of sustainability concepts. The department manages its activities with the practice of sustainability integrated in every aspect of its work. DWR’s sustainable practice areas include but are not limited to; ecosystem stewardship, the greening of its facilities and fleets, recycling and waste management, managing climate change impacts and environmentally preferable procurement. DWR has implemented key steps that empower employees to learn and contribute to a more sustainable future for California, both at work and at home.
DWR is engaged in the sustainability of natural resources related to water resources projects and the environment. Systems of water supply and flood protection are more successful when they accommodate and sustain ecosystem functions. The goal of an environmental stewardship ethic is to create human systems consistent with natural systems, where each is ultimately sustainable. DWR embraces the ethic of environmental stewardship as it makes and carries out decisions that deal with future demands on water resources and flood protection throughout California.
DWR embraces the concept of environmental justice and the principles of fairness to all people regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious affiliation, income or economic background. Through all of its work, DWR is committed to honoring these principles especially with respect to environmental regulations, laws and policies. DWR believes that all Californians shall enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and be afforded the same health environment in which to work, learn and live.
Climate Change Management
DWR is actively planning for known impacts of climate change. The result of these impacts has been demonstrated with more variable weather patterns and greater climate variability throughout California. The management of more prolonged and severe drought, threats to sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and sea-level rise are of paramount consideration. DWR is addressing climate change impacts to ensure that Californians have an adequate water supply, healthy ecosystems and reliable flood control, now and in the future.
Strategic Planning Goals
The following strategic planning goals are excerpted from DWR's 2005 Strategic Business Plan.
Goal 1 - Develop and assess strategies for managing the State’s water resources, including development of the California Water Plan Update.
Goal 2 - Plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain the State Water Project to achieve maximum flexibility, safety, and reliability.
Goal 3 - Protect and improve the water resources and dependent ecosystems of statewide significance, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta Estuary.
Goal 4 - Protect lives and infrastructure as they relate to dams, floods, droughts, watersheds impacted by fire and disasters, and assist in other emergencies.
Goal 5 - Provide policy direction and legislative guidance on water and energy issues and educate the public on the importance, hazards, and efficient use of water.
Goal 6 - Support local planning and integrated regional water management through technical and financial assistance.
Goal 7 - Perform efficiently all statutory, legal, and fiduciary responsibilities regarding management of State long-term power contracts and servicing of power revenue bonds.
Goal 8 - Provide professional, cost-effective, and timely services in support of DWR’s programs, consistent with governmental regulatory and policy requirements.
DWR is responsible for promoting California’s general welfare by ensuring beneficial water use and development statewide. To guide development and management of the State’s water resources, DWR is responsible for preparing the California Water Plan Update. (Water Code section 10000 et seq.)
The Plan is updated every 5 years to address challenges currently facing California, such as satisfying the needs of the State’s growing population (projected to reach about 53 million by 2030), quantifying water demands and supplies based on sound information, and identifying management strategies to diversify the regional portfolio assets.
DWR is authorized to conduct other planning functions, including those related to urban and agricultural water use, fish and wildlife, recreation, groundwater, agricultural drainage, and water quality. It also investigates and identifies water management strategies, such as conservation, water recycling, water transfers, conjunctive management, and structural measures.
DWR represents the State on interstate water policy issues concerning the Klamath, Truckee, Carson, and Walker Rivers; it also helps develop interstate water policy on the Colorado River and is designated as the State administrator of interstate water-related compacts.
DWR operates California’s State Water Project (SWP), the largest State-built multipurpose project in the United States. The SWP was designed in the 1950s and 1960s. Most SWP construction was done during the 1960s and 1970s, with some later additions.
The SWP, spanning more than 600 miles from Northern California to Southern California, includes 34 storage facilities, 20 pumping plants, 4 pumping-generating plants, 5 hydroelectric power plants, and approximately 701 miles of canals and pipelines, including the newest section, the East Branch Extension located in Southern California.
DWR operates and maintains the SWP and delivers, on average, 2.4 million acre-feet of water per year to the 29 water agencies who are repaying the cost, plus interest, of financing, constructing, operating, and maintaining the SWP storage and conveyance facilities. Through the SWP, DWR supplies good quality water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and recreational uses and for protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife.
The ability of DWR to meet many of its goals hinges on achieving and maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the Bay-Delta Estuary. Maintaining such an ecosystem requires understanding, collaboration, and reasonable agreement among many partners to resolve Bay-Delta issues.
DWR is collaborating and coordinating with the California Bay-Delta Authority and California Bay-Delta Program (CALFED) agencies to carry out its responsibilities of controlling salinity, providing water for use in the Delta, planning long-term solutions for environmental and water use problems, and administering Delta levee maintenance reimbursements and special flood control projects. (Water Code section 12200)
DWR has the responsibility of protecting public health, life, and property by regulating the safety of dams, providing flood protection, and responding to emergencies. DWR meets these responsibilities through the following activities:
Educating the public on the importance of water, its efficient use, and its dangers, as well as collecting, analyzing, and distributing water-related information to the general public and to the scientific, technical, educational, and water management communities are important DWR responsibilities.
DWR provides technical and financial assistance to local agencies; cooperates with local agencies, groups, and individuals on water resources investigations; supports watershed and river restoration programs; encourages water conservation, explores conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water, provides planning and advice on water recycling and desalination programs, administers local assistance grant and loan programs, facilitates voluntary water transfers and, when needed, operates a State drought water bank.
During the 2001 energy crisis, the Governor and the Legislature gave DWR the statutory authority to purchase and schedule all electricity used by the three nearly bankrupt major power utilities in the State.
DWR used its authority to enter into long-term contracts with power producers to stabilize the volatile wholesale energy market and to provide the revenue certainty needed by suppliers to secure financing for construction of necessary new power plants.
DWR has been charged with the responsibility of managing the long-term contracts, including renegotiating their terms and conditions when possible.