California’s $3.2 trillion economy—ranked 5th globally if it were a country—depends greatly on water. Water for agriculture, water for drinking, water for power, and water for ecosystems. California’s Water Plan has a broad and diverse portfolio of recommended actions to address its many often conflicting water challenges—flood risk, surface- and groundwater supplies, and habitat and species resiliency. And this delicate water balance is potentially threatened by climate change.
In July 2020, the California (USA) Department of Water Resources published a Climate Change Adaptation Plan (https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-Website/Web-Pages/Programs/All-Programs/Climate-Change-Program/Climate-Action-Plan/Files/Adaptation_Plan.pdf). Their mid-century projections show increased temperature (affecting snowpack storage) and sea-level rise (affecting San Francisco Bay-Delta water quality), resulting in reduced water deliveries and storage and an overall decrease in performance of the State Water Project if nothing is done to adapt.
Rather than create a detailed adaptation framework for its State Water Project (SWP) from scratch, California decide to adopt UNESCO’s Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) approach, noting that CRIDA’s five steps all align with their own adaptation processes. CRIDA’s steps 1 and 2 (Structuring a Process for Vulnerability Assessment, and Implementing a Bottom-up Vulnerability Assessment) align with their “Understanding” stage. Steps 3 and 4 (Formulating Alternative Plans, and Comparing and Recommending Plans) follow their “Planning” stage. And step 5 (Institutionalizing the Decisions) follows their “Managing” stage.
The “next steps” identified by the State include:
• Coordinate the implementation of the five CRIDA steps for the SWP, examine the adaptation potential of their resource management strategies, incorporate consideration of climate change into SWP’s Asset Management Program, and further explore the vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and adaptation options for the SWP.