2016 Drought Contingency Plan:  The plan was released on January 15, and outlines potential actions that may be needed to modify D-1641 or adjustments to Biological Opinions for Central Valley Project and State Water Project operations from February through November.  The Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation have prepared the plan in close coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and State Water Board staff.  The partner agencies recognize the need for continued dialogue and assessment as future hydrology unfolds.  The modeled forecast of reservoir storages, flows, and exports are based on theJanuary 1 hydrology and will obviously change due to the continued rainfall that has occurred to date.  Plan


February 3: Public Policy Institute of California Hosts “Improving the Federal Response to Western Drought”:  At this Resources for the Future (RFF) First Wednesday Seminar, experts will discuss the role of the federal government in western water and drought management, with a focus on how it can strengthen its partnership with states to better manage drought today and in a warmer, possibly drier, future. The event features a presentation by Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, who will discuss the center’s new report, Improving the Federal Response to Western Drought: Five Areas for Reform.  More Information


State Water Project Allocation Boosted: Early Winter Storms Promising, but State Remains in Drought: With winter storms slowly boosting water supply, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) increased its water delivery estimate for most recipients from 10 percent of requests for the calendar year, as announced in December, to 15 percent.  More Information


Department of Water Resources Sets Media Snow Survey on February 2; Snowpack Is Faring Better Than Any January Since 2011, but Final Drought Impact Is Still Unknown: The second media-oriented snow survey of the winter will be conducted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) on Tuesday, February 2 at Phillips Station off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento.  More Information


Bureau of Reclamation Outlines Water Year 2016 Central Valley Project Water Supply Conditions:  The CVP’s reservoir carryover storage from WY 2015 into WY 2016 (October 1, 2015) was 2.9 million acre-feet, which was 24 percent of capacity and 47 percent of the 15-year average for that date in six key CVP reservoirs (Shasta, New Melones, Trinity, Folsom, Millerton, and the federal portion of San Luis). As of January 19, 2016, storage in major CVP reservoirs was .963 million acre-feet lower than a year ago.  “On December 30, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) held their first manual snow survey of the year and found the water content to be 16.3 inches, or 136 percent of the January 1 average. With this promising news and El Niño storms beginning to materialize, we are feeling encouraged,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “However, storage in our reservoirs remains low, and we must be prudent as we develop initial operation plans and allocations for CVP water contractors.” More Information


California Water Commission Begins Formal Rulemaking Process for Water Storage Investment Program Regulations: The California Water Commission began the formal rulemaking process with the Office of Administrative Law for the first draft regulations for the Water Storage Investment Program. It also began a 45- day comment period on the draft regulations, with written public comments accepted through March 14, 2016.  More Information


California Water Commission Accepting Concept Papers: The California Water Commission is calling upon potential project proponents to submit Concept Papers that summarize potential water storage projects and their benefits. This is an effort by the Commission to gather information regarding projects that may qualify and apply for Water Storage Investment Program public benefit funding.  More Information


21 Groundwater Basins Identified as Critically Overdrafted:  The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has identified 21 groundwater basins and subbasins in which excessive groundwater pumping has resulted in significant overdraft. Overdraft impacts can include seawater intrusion and land subsidence, in addition to chronically lowered groundwater levels. As a result, those basins and subbasins fall under the earliest deadlines required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  More Information


The Department of Water Resources Has Announced the Release of the Draft Funding Recommendations for the Counties with Stressed Basins Grant Solicitation: DWR has announced the release of the Draft Funding Recommendations to award 21 proposals, totaling approximately $6.7 million, for the 2015 Counties with Stressed Basins Grant Solicitation under Proposition 1 Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program. On December 8, 2015, DWR received 23 grant applications requesting a total of approximately $7 million, with total project costs of $12.7 million  This release of the Draft Recommendations opens the public comment period. The public comment period will close on February 8, 2016 at 5:00 PMMore Information


February 1-2: UCLA and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Workshop:  In this groundbreaking workshop, we bring together scientists, resource managers and policy leaders to enable the linkage of conservation genomics with remote sensing and climate models that can change the face of wildlife management in California.  More Information


State Agencies Held Informational Meeting for Creekside Landowners in Russian River Watershed:  The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) jointly hosted a public meeting for landowners in the Russian River Watershed on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Staff from the two departments provided information about residents’ water rights, the reliability of their water supply and actions they can take to reduce impacts on salmon and steelhead fisheries.  More Information


Statement from Department of Water Resources Director Mark W. Cowin on the State Water Resources Control Board Pre-Hearing Conference on the DWR and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Petition Requesting Changes in Water Rights for the California WaterFix: “We welcome the Water Board’s hearing process and expect a thorough vetting of concerns about our proposal to construct new intakes on the Sacramento River.  We respect the Board’s difficult task in balancing competing uses of water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Through the Water Board hearings over the coming months, we intend to demonstrate how we will upgrade infrastructure of statewide importance while protecting fish and wildlife and addressing the legitimate concerns of other water users who depend upon the Delta. When and wherever possible, we have modified our proposed project to avoid or minimize potential negative effects on local communities, others who depend upon the Delta for water supplies, and fish and wildlife. We’ll continue to listen to concerns and adjust the proposed project where possible. We welcome any discussion and negotiation on any set of issues regarding the California WaterFix petitions for new points of diversion.”  More Information


Governor Brown Delivers 2016 State of the State Address:  Water: One of the bright spots in our contentious politics is the joining together of both parties and the people themselves to secure passage of Proposition 1, the Water Bond. That, together with our California Water Action Plan, establishes a solid program to deal with the drought and the longer-term challenge of using our water wisely. Our goal must be to preserve California’s natural beauty and ensure a vibrant economy – on our farms, in our cities and for all the people who live here. There is no magic bullet but a series of actions must be taken. We have to recharge our aquifers, manage the groundwater, recycle, capture stormwater, build storage and reliable conveyance, improve efficiency everywhere, invest in new technologies – including desalination – and all the while recognize that there are some limits. Achieving balance between all the conflicting interests is not easy but I pledge to you that I will listen and work patiently to achieve results that will stand the test of time. Water goes to the heart of what California is and what it has been over centuries. Pitting fish against farmer misses the point and grossly distorts reality. Every one of us and every creature that dwells here form a complex system which must be understood and respected.  Full Speech

Please contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.  And, as always, please feel free to share this information with others.


Todd Ferrara

Deputy Secretary for External Affairs

California Natural Resources Agency



Every Californian should conserve water.  Find out how at:

SaveOurWater.com · Drought.CA.gov