Preparing for Water Scarcity: Learning from California’s Recent Drought

EPA Grant Number: R835867
Title: Preparing for Water Scarcity: Learning from California’s Recent Drought
Investigators: Hanak, Ellen , Lund, Jay
Institution: Public Policy Institute of California , University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2018
Project Amount: $1,000,000
RFA: National Priorities: Systems-Based Strategies to Improve The Nation’s Ability to Plan And Respond to Water Scarcity and Drought Due to Climate Change (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water


The objectives of this project are to: 1) synthesize the climatological and hydrologic conditions of the current drought and its effects on water supply and quality for uses in agricultural, urban, environmental, rural community and hydropower sectors (including impacts of wildfires); 2) conduct an integrated systems assessment that examines the response of federal, state and local institutions to the drought; 3) identify innovations needed for sustainable drought management systems, including adaptations for projected climate change; and 4) develop drought simulations and methods for statewide “dry runs” as a way to test these innovations.


The project will leverage, integrate, and extend a large body of drought-related research underway around the state – including by members of the research team – as well as the considerable investments already made on climate change modeling and analysis for this region. To craft lessons to improve future responses, the project will involve practitioners from local, state, and federal agencies and stakeholder groups in private workshops and simulation exercises.

Expected Results:

This study will be coupled with an extensive engagement program involving workshops that will make results both available and useful to policymakers and practitioners evaluating drought planning and responses.  The innovations developed as part of this project will improve water management by reducing the risks associated with inadequate drought preparedness, including both pre-drought planning and emergency response.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 57 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 7 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

climate scenarios, extreme impacts, adaptation, CA, EPA Region 9

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • Final Report