State Water Project Water Management Tools Study

Project Background

The need for a Water Management Tools Study (Study) arose after the Department of Water Resources (DWR) proposed a new SWP Contract Amendment. The Amendment suggests changes to the existing SWP Water Supply Contracts that provide for more flexibility associated with transfers and exchanges.

The need for the Study grew out of a need to address outdated District policies for State water related to the excess allocation that is paid for by countywide taxpayers and the recognition that these tools could be used to help ensure continued affordability and reliability of the supply for existing Subcontractors.

Doing the study jointly with CCWA is important due to the shared infrastructure and unique opportunities that may exist with the Amendment to address both concerns. The Amendment also includes Project operational changes which will impact contract administration, supply planning, and local operations. To this end, the Scope of the Study includes identifying:

1. Cost-effective ways to utilize the new tools to optimize the short-term operational storage provided at San Luis Reservoir that will complement other longer-term storage options and maximize the supply reliability in extended drought conditions,

2. Operational and planning strategies for utilizing known excess capacity within the Coastal Branch pipeline,

3. Cost-saving strategies (involving exchanges, transfers, or storage) for both the District and Subcontractor agencies to consider implementing in years when State water supplies exceed local needs (short-term cost-saving strategies), or to inform Board understanding concerning opportunities to off-set the Countywide taxpayers portion of State water costs, and

4. Water management actions and policy that would enable the agencies to provide mutual support in emergencies and enhance regional water resiliency.


Project Contacts

  • Courtney Howard, Water Resources Division Manager, San Luis Obispo Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
  • Ray Stokes, Executive Director, Central Coast Water Authority.
  • Wes Thomson, Utilities Engineer, San Luis Obispo Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
  • Terry Erlewine, Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group.
  • Jim Beck, Hallmark Group.

Project Timeline

Agendas and Presentations for project milestones presented to the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors.


February 4, 2020

Board was provided with update concerning the decision on whether to sign the proposed Amendment.

May 27, 2020:

The State Water Subcontractors Advisory Committee voted to proceed with the Study.

June 16, 2020:

Staff presented Board opportunity to participate in Study, in partnership with CCWA.

November 18, 2020:

Determined that State Water Subcontractors Advisory Committee will hold joint public meetings with the CCWA Operations Committee at key project milestones.

March 2, 2021

The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to approve and authorize the Public Works Director to sign the SWP Water Management Tools Amendment and receive an update to the study.

Upcoming Meetings

July 8th, 2021: CCWA Operating Committee Meeting

Special Meeting: Water Management Study Stakeholder Meeting. Joint meeting with the State Water Subcontractors Advisory Committee and CCWA Operating Committee will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.



Contact Public Works via web form, email, or call us at (805) 781-5252.