The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is the hub for water distribution in California. Water from the Delta is distributed to roughly two-thirds of California’s population (roughly 27 million people) and more than 3 million acres of farmland. Water management in the Delta’s watershed faces immense challenges due to the region’s hydrologic, hydrodynamic, ecologic, economic, and institutional complexity. Adaptive management uses a structured process of decision making – supported by models and best available science – to take action in the face of uncertainty.
Although adaptive management has been more commonly discussed for ecological restoration, it is also called for in the Delta Plan for water resource management. The Delta Science Program has begun work on a framework document to help managers, decision-makers, and policymakers as they incorporate adaptive management into their efforts to improve the reliability of our water supply.