The El Dorado Water Agency was created in 1959 to ensure that El Dorado County has adequate water to serve its multiple needs now and in the future.

EDWA is authorized by the 1959 El Dorado County Water Agency Act to:

Picture of the American River

Agency's Powers Enacted Per the 1959 Act include:

Political icon

Be a political and corporate body

Order water icon

Exercise authorized power and legal actions necessary for providing sufficient water for any present or future beneficial use, or for uses of the environment or inhabitants within the Agency

Hydro-power icon

Construct, operate, and maintain works to develop hydroelectric energy as a means of assisting in financing the construction, operation, and maintenance of its projects for the control, conservation, diversion, and transmission of water and to enter into contracts for the sale of such energy. Such energy may be marketed only at wholesale rates to any public agency or private entity engaged in the sale or use of electric energy, or to the federal or state government

Stormwater and streams icon

Control the flood and stormwaters of the Agency and the flood and stormwaters of streams that have their sources outside of the Agency, which streams, and floodwaters flow into the agency, and to conserve such waters for beneficial and useful purposes

Conserve and reclaim icon

Store, conserve, reclaim, appropriate, and import water; and prevent interference of water sources and prevent contamination/pollution

Investigate and study icon

Conduct water resources investigations and studies

Sell and lease icon

Sell, lease, or transfer water within/outside the County

Responsibility icon

Cooperate with other federal, state and local agencies to carry out the Agency's powers

Water is at the heart of everything our communities do and need. Water resources are critical to achieve the objectives of the County’s adopted General Plan in maintaining economic prosperity, environmental protection, and our desired rural-agricultural way of life.

Historically, we have supported water purveyors in the County in planning and developing reliable water supplies for continued economic development. Today, we recognize the magnitude of our mission and responsibilities. Facing diverse, yet interrelated water resources challenges, a more comprehensive approach to water resources planning is necessary to achieve sustainability for future generations.

Our outcome-oriented actions need to propel us to secure water supplies, improve drought preparedness, manage stormwater as a resource, support new (renewable) hydropower, provide adequate flood protection, and enhance watershed health and resiliency — all integral elements for prudent, proactive water management planning for the County’s future.

Picture of the American River

History of El Dorado Water Agency

Click image for larger version

Mission, Vision, and Values

With complex regulations, climate change, and evolving societal values, EDWA is focusing on an integrated and comprehensive water management approach, collaborative solutions to challenges, and advancing priorities that align with the County’s General Plan. This approach is outlined in detail in EDWA’s updated Strategic Plan and 2019 Water Resources Development and Management Plan.


Ensuring that El Dorado County has adequate and affordable water to maintain economic prosperity, protect the environment, and support the rural-agriculture way of life for today and in the future.

Envisioning the County's Water Future:

The Agency will lead the countywide development for a resilient water future through integrated water resources management. This approach is based on the foundational policy documents including the 1959 Act and the WRDMP for realizing the vision of the County General Plan.

The Agency will deliver and implement programs and strategies such as:
  • Secure water supplies and infrastructure
  • Improve drought preparedness
  • Enhance the watershed health to improve resiliency including water quality, fire risk, and climate adaptation
  • Manage stormwater
  • Provide flood protection

Core Values:

The Agency commits to the following core values:
  • Serve Countywide: Anticipate our countywide regional needs and be responsive to our preferred way of life for today and into our future
  • Fiscally Forward: Be forward thinking to manage our financial resources to effectively and efficiently execute our goals
  • Communication is Paramount: Build a cohesive water community through respect, trust, and open and transparent communication
  • Partner for Success: Harness our collective energetic and outcome-oriented staff and partners to deliver on shared mission and vision
  • Attract the Best: Attract staff who will reflect the Agency's core values and recognize their contributions with equivalent compensation and benefits
  • Focused and Adaptive: Focus on the Agency's mission and goals and adapt to changing conditions

EDWA Implementation Programs

EDWA’s 2017 Strategic Plan, and the 2019 WRDMP, outline Resource Management Strategies for five Implementation Programs that will address identified challenges for the County. The five Implementation Programs are outlined in the WRDMP:

Policies and Guidance

Click to expand


The Governance and Partnership Program focuses on how EDWA will function throughout WRDMP implementation in creating benefits for all of El Dorado County. The extent of this program is defined by EDWA’s authority in the 1959 Water Act, and it includes EDWA’s involvement in advancing resource management strategies, actions, water sale agreements, coordinated operations, and other water-related efforts. Initial program activities include the strategic formation of a governing body (or authority) for WRDMP implementation and building capacity and partnerships to support future EDWA activities.

EDWA Partners for Success


The Water Security Program focuses on EDWA’s effort to prepare El Dorado County for an uncertain water future, and it is the most important program for EDWA. It encompasses EDWA’s role in the ongoing water supply and demand gap analysis, water supply development, drought protection and response, developing stormwater as a resource, flood management, and water quality. This program is at the center of EDWA’s work, requiring the most effort and the greatest financial investment in comparison with other programs.

Picture of calm river


EDWA has broad authority to engage in water management actions related to water supply, water quality and flood management. EDWA’s Watershed Management Program involves participating in actions that meaningfully contribute to long-term water supply reliability and water quality protection for El Dorado County, in the areas of headwaters management, water quality management for rural and agricultural communities, and habitat and other ecosystem function enhancement.

EDWA is currently preparing an Upper American River Watershed Plan. 

More information on this plan and the group can be found here.

Picture of calm river with dry leaves


Innovation is the key to continued improvement of both the understanding and management of water resource-related challenges. Through the Assistance and Innovation Program, EDWA aims to encourage the development and use of innovative ideas in water planning and management, as well as provide technical and educational assistance to other entities involved in Resource Management Strategies and action development and implementation. At present, EDWA’s ability to provide direct financial assistance is limited, but it may explore alternative mechanisms that are within its authority.

Picture of Hangtown Creek


The Communication and Advocacy Program will coordinate efforts throughout El Dorado County, so they are more consistent, efficient, and effective. It consists of public information, county-wide communications, and federal and state advocacy related to water resource issues and management. This program is crucial to the Implementation Programs, as it fosters coherent and effective messages regarding investments and actions. This program also facilitates consistent EDWA engagement in implementation and coordination efforts with other local, regional, state, and federal agencies, stakeholders and interested parties.

EDWA hosts bi-annual Plenary sessions in the spring and the fall for thought leaders from water and energy utilities, federal, state, and local governments; watershed managers; and business and community organizations to collaborate on modernizing water resource management in El Dorado County. 

More information on can be found here.

Close-up picture of a river