Recognizing the compelling need for advanced technical and policy solutions for the Delta from an independent organization unaffiliated with any agency or stakeholder group, the Center for Watershed Sciences has initiated the Delta Solutions Program. The program brings together a team of research scientists, engineers and economists to test the environmental, economic and water supply performance of a range of future alternatives for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In addition, the group seeks to develop analytical tools designed to provide new insights for on-going strategic planning efforts and to better evaluate proposed future policy decisions. Finally, the group is committed to communicating its results and providing its tools to decisionmakers throughout the state and remaining engaged in developing Delta solutions for the long term.
The hallmark of the Delta Solutions Program will be the development or refinement of a analytical decision-support tools that better represent the Delta's complex problems. These include large-scale water resource optimization models, hydrodynamic models that evaluate water quality, ecological models to assess the ecosystem impacts of water operations or ecosystem restoration efforts, and economic models that examine costs and alternatives for land and water management strategies. Importantly, we are establishing this capability within a systematic and integrated analysis framework that will significantly improve the objective development and comparison of alternatives.
As part of our program, we are devoting considerable effort to outreach and education. This includes working directly with legislative staff, local governments, water contractors and non-governmental organizations throughout California as well as various media outlets to disseminate our results. A less visible, but perhaps more important method of translating our work into tangible change in the management of the Delta and California water in general is through our students. Most of the graduate students and research staff who work on our projects remain within California, working as agency, water contractor, consultant or non-governmental organization staff. In this indirect, long-term way, this project improves the technical capacity of these organizations.
The mission of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences is to house and foster research programs that resolve critical issues in watershed and water resource science. The center is engaged in a 10-year effort, the California Water Program, to develop solutions to present and future water resource issues in California. The center's California Water Program is currently involved in a broad range of activities throughout California. Center faculty, staff and student research efforts include evaluation of alternatives to restore salmon in the Klamath River and its tributaries, development of climate change adaptation strategies for management of Sierra Nevada hydropower reservoirs, alternatives for linking surface water and groundwater management in the Central Valley, development of new, innovative engineering and economic modeling approaches for management of water throughout California, and new approaches to resolving flood management. The signature effort of the California Water Program is the Delta Solutions Program.