The Water Sustainability Indicators Framework grew out of regional projects developing indicators for water and watershed condition. The California Water Plan Update 2013 team decided to incorporate sustainability indicators into the Update in response to recommendations from the 2009 Update advisory process. This report describes the work completed in two phases by the UC Davis team between 2011 and 2013. The first phase (henceforth Phase I) involved developing an analytical framework and approach (henceforth Framework) for developing and evaluating indicators. The second phase (henceforth Phase II) involved pilot testing the Framework at the state and regional scales and development of a web-based reporting and decision-support tool. The report is divided among these two phases, with the intent that the bulk of the report would be included in the California Water Plan Update 2013, Volume IV – Technical Appendices.
The Phase I report describes the progressive development and use of sustainability indicators from vision and goal setting to reporting and knowledge-building. It describes the disaggregation of goals into measurable objectives in the presence of tribe, stakeholder, and agency contributions, and the identification of indicators corresponding to the goals and objectives. It describes the use of a novel method for measuring sustainability performance that involves comparing condition to defined desired and undesired targets. The scores that result from the comparison can be reported at various scales, depending on the fineness and extent of the data. Finally, the Framework describes reporting conditions and trends in various formats, including a report card in narrative, tabular, and/or map form.