GOAL: Even before the drought, Californians were using more water each year than the state’s infrastructure can sustainably supply. To create a reliable and environmentally sound water supply—for residents, businesses, and farms—California needs to conserve, capture, and re-use one million more acre-feet of water each year for a decade.

BACKGROUND: In the 2016 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, the Summit outlined a plan for addressing this challenge by helping state and regional leaders accelerate progress toward integrated water projects within watersheds that capture stormwater and replenish groundwater, improve efficiency and reuse, and reduce flooding and water pollution.


Tracking Progress

Summit Accomplishments 2012-15

Action Plan for 2016


Since supporting passage of the 2014 water bond, the Summit has worked with water agencies to encourage more comprehensive governance of the state's fragmented water system. Summit teams have also worked to better connect land use planning and water management--and to advance the use of new local financing tools that allow more communities to pay for local water projects.

The California Water Plan highlights the need for integrated water management, but the state still lacks a governance and finance system that supports these critical investments. To accelerate regional efforts to invest in projects across watersheds, the Summit plans to work with regional partners to identify innovations for expanding integrated water management. This effort will:

  1. Develop and advance integrated regional and watershed management solutions that connect headwaters and users, as well as urban and rural communities.

  2. Focus on new approaches to funding and financing integrated solutions.

  3. Identify limitations--and advocate for changes--in law or practice that prevent interagency coordination and alignment.

Summer 2016: The Summit is in discussions with several regions to serve as pilots for an enhanced approach to water governance and financing. The Summit is also exploring ways to align this effort with corporate water sustainability initiatives. A Summit team is also planning a convening in the fall with water district managers and local officials and planners to highlight opportunities for bridging the divide between land use and resource management.

Spring 2016: The Summit was invited to present on water at the annual meeting of the Planning & Conservation League, with Summit leaders outlining plans to expand integrated water management in three to four regions, while also advocating for changes to state policy that encourage regions to invest in projects that capture stormwater and replenish groundwater, improve efficiency and reuse, and reduce flooding and water pollution. The Summit also submitted public comment on the Department of Water Resources' draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans, urging the department to do more to break down the silos that prevent management across watersheds.

January 2016: With the drought exposing the shortcomings of California's water systems, the Summit unveiled its One Million Acre-Feet of Water Challenge this winter, highlighting the need to expand regional capacity to manage water resources across watersheds. "Drought or no drought, California is running a water deficit that we are leaving to future generations. We need all of the creativity of groups like the Summit to change that," said Jay Ziegler, director of external affairs and policy at The Nature Conservancy.