The impacts of climate change on water use and how the state can address them represent a significant change in the new 5-year update of the California Water Plan.

Update 2018, released last week by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento, recommends actions to meet various important aspects of climate change.

One of the priorities, improving integrated management of local watersheds, has been a focus of Zone 7 Water Agency in its role as manager of the Valley’s groundwater basin. As long ago as 20 years, the agency had been using the latest computerized research tools to gain a better picture of how the basin behaved, and best practices for its management.

It was so exemplary that the state cited Zone 7 policies as a model when it wanted to show lagging water districts how to manage their groundwater basins better.

Among other Update 2018 recommendations are restoring ecosystem functions and engaging in long-term planning.

A news release from DWR says Update 2018 falls in line with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “broader effort to develop a suite of priorities and actions to build a climate-resilient water system that prioritizes multi-benefit and watershed-scale approaches.”

It also coordinates with Newsom’s desire to see a system that uses natural infrastructure, such as flood plains and aquifers, and strengthened partnerships, says DWR.

Karla Nemeth, formerly of the Zone 7 staff and now director of DWR, said, “We are now living in a new climate reality, and we know we must respond. Our goals are clear — to face our critical, institutional, and systemic challenges head-on and build a more sustainable future.”

The public can learn more at water.ca.gov/Programs/California-Water-Plan.