Climate Change Readiness

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Climate change is happening. The direct and indirect effects of climate change have broad-reaching implications for the San Diego Water Board’s mission to protect and restore uses of water. The State of California regularly compiles a variety of information on science, news, and actions at the Climate Change Portal. The State and Regional Water Boards have a key role in the State’s implementation plan known as Safeguarding California.

Effects of climate change.

For instance, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and changes to precipitation patterns, groundwater levels, and temperature will influence how we ensure that water is safe for drinking, swimming, fish and shellfish consumption, and ecosystems. The California Climate Change Center produced a climate change impact report (2009) summarizing some of the threats to the San Diego Region. And, the Climate Science Alliance has produced a report on effects of climate change to the region's ecosystem (2018).

Effects of management actions.

In addition, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and industries need to make a variety of difficult decisions regarding potential climate change impacts to their interests; and those decisions could affect our mission in the coming years. For examples see Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay (2012). For instance:

  • Accommodating higher tidal surges by armoring coastlines could restrict recreational uses of beaches and bays.
  • Managing larger volumes of storm water by modifying stream channels could disrupt ecosystem uses of streams and wetlands.
  • Relying on natural attenuation of soil contamination could be risky if the area may become inundated due to sea level rise or rising groundwater.

San Diego Water Board Activities

Tentative Resolution No. R9-2018-0051 "Addressing Threats to Beneficial Uses from Climate Change" (update to tentative Resolution No. R9-2017-0035)

Redline/strikeout version showing changes to tentative Resolution No. R9-2017-0035

Clean version without redline/strikeout

Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on tentative Resolution No. R9-2018-0051 (through April 12, 2018)

Responses to comments during comment period on tentative Resolution No. R9-2017-0035.

Written Comments Received during February 3-21, 2017 comment period:

  1. California Department of Transportation
  2. City of San Diego
  3. Climate Action Campaign
  4. Unified Port of San Diego
  5. San Diego County Water Authority


Tentative Meeting Date: The Board is scheduled to consider adoption of Tentative Resolution No. R9-2018-0051 at its public Board meeting on May 9, 2018. The May 9, 2018 is currently scheduled to be held at the City of Mission Viejo City Council Chambers at 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. For information on Board meetings, locations, and agendas, please visit our agenda page

Proposed Climate Change Priorities. At the May 9, 2018 Board meeting, staff will recommend that the Board prioritize its Climate Change efforts around effects to key beneficial uses and key areas that support those uses:

Key Beneficial Use
Key Areas for the Use*
Recommended Top Climate Change Goals
Safe to Drink

1st Rank: Drinking Water and supply reservoir

2nd Rank: Groundwater

• Increase local water supply via water recycling

• Capture storm water without harming in-stream ecosystems

Safe to Eat

1st: Ocean

2nd: Bays

3rd: Harbor, lagoons, estuaries

• Address bioaccumulation and toxin threats

• Capture storm water without harming in-stream ecosystems

Safe to Swim

1st: Ocean Bays

2nd: Harbors

3rd: Lagoons, estuaries, streams, stream mouths

• Protect beaches from harmful shoreline hardening

• Identify and remedy vulnerable wastewater infrastructure

Healthy Ecosystem

1st: Ocean

2nd: Bays

3rd: Harbor, lagoons, estuaries

• Protect and increase intertidal ecosystems

• Protect and restore natural flow regimes

* Key areas are identified in "Key Beneficial Uses and Key Areas: Focusing on What is Most Important" adopted by San Diego Water Board Resolution R9-2017-0030.


Considering the Science: Meeting with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Southern California Coastal Waters Research Project.

Meeting Agenda (Feb 9, 2018)

SCCWRP PowerPoint Presentation (Feb 9, 2018)

SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL LIST To stay informed of San Diego Water Board activities regarding climate change, subscribe to our climate change email list at

CONTACTS For additional information contact Jeremy Haas, Environmental Program Manager, at or 619-521-3009.