News & Media
News and Media
SEI is helping California find alternative solutions for water management. Photo: Christina Spicuzza / CC/ Flickr
Innovative software and analysis builds a sounder foundation for California’s unstable water supply.
SEI is helping California make a step-change in its water governance. Every five years California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) measures water use across the state, judges how much water is available and estimates future needs.
A crucial guide
These five-year updates are a crucial guide for California’s water policy and form the basis of the California Water Plan. Our work is behind a shift to scenario-based analysis in the California Water Plan – an approach that enables better responses to the inherent uncertainty of future water conditions.
DWR turned to SEI because of the success of our software system WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning). WEAP allows water planners to explore outcomes by processing data from a huge array of questions, such as what if population and economic patterns change? What if groundwater is over-exploited? What if climate
change alters demand and supply? How does pollution affect water quality?
More stable and resilient water supply
Comparing scenarios can help California make better policy. For example, how do modern approaches like conservation, wastewater reuse and combined use compare to traditional strategies, such as building more dams and reservoirs? How will different strategies perform in a changed climate that is expected to dramatically shift the mix of snow and rain in major watersheds in the state?
Our researchers are helping to answer these questions, and California’s water supply will be more stable and resilient as a result.
In 2008 SEI also co-developed a climate change information system for California, based on Google Earth technology. The system will help water managers to integrate complex climate information into planning.
In the US, SEI’s reputation for creative thinking on water management and climate adaptation continued to grow in 2009.
Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (centre), Google CEO Eric Schmidt (far left) and SEI staff David Purkey (third from right) and Vishal Mehta (on Schwartzenegger’s right) launch a climate change information system for the state. The system uses Google Earth technology and was co-developed by SEI.Photo: Justin Short, Office of the Governor