Improving California’s Stream Flow Monitoring System


April 2018

With California’s drought risk, flood risk, and demand for water all increasing, effective monitoring is more important than ever to water decision making. Stream gages monitor the most basic vital sign of California’s waterways—stream flow. Stream flow data support day-to-day decisions about how to manage water and operate water infrastructure—decisions that have important implications for flood control and the water supplies upon which residential, industrial, agricultural, and environmental water users depend. Stream flow information also provides technical insights into basin hydrology, and those insights aid long-term water planning. As pressures on the state’s water systems intensify, the need for accurate and timely stream flow information will continue to grow. 

Our UC Water Issue Brief provides foundational background on the topic and early recommendations.

Download the Issue Brief:

Improving California’s Stream Flow Monitoring System (April 2018)

See our op-ed in Capitol Weekly:

Ending the Drought — in Water Data (Mar 11, 2019)

For More Information:

Contact Mike Kiparsky, Director, Wheeler Water Institute, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

This project is part of the UC Water Security and Sustainability Initiative and supported by the University of California Office of the President

Suggested Citation
Miller, K, N Green Nylen, H Doremus, A Fisher, G Fogg, D Owen,
 S Sandoval Solis, J Viers, and M Kiparsky. 2018. California’s Stream Flow Monitoring System is Essential for Water Decision Making. Center for Law, Energy & the Environment,
UC Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, CA. 4 pp. Available at: or