US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources Website

Shared Vision Planning


SVP Support for State Water Planning in California


 In 2006, the Corps’ Institute for Water Resources agreed to provide technical assistance to Department of Water Resources of the State of California on how to implement Shared Vision Planning (SVP) to support development of the next California Water Plan.  IWR will support California’s DWR by a) leading a General Workshop on Shared Vision Planning to introduce the topics of Shared Vision Planning to an audience of policy makers, natural resource planners, scientists, and engineers, b) providing strategic assistance to CaDWR with implementing SVP to support development of the next California Water Plan, and c) assist CaDWR in conducting multiple shared vision planning workshops in 2007-2008.  The overall goal is assist CaDWR in applying SVP to encourage stakeholder participation in development of the California Water Plan.


The Shared Vision Planning process (relies on a structured planning process firmly rooted in the federal Principles and Guidelines, and in the circles of influence approach to structuring participation. Shared Vision Planning integrates tried-and-true planning principles, systems modeling and collaboration into a practical forum for making resource management decisions. 

Since the development of Shared Vision Planning (SVP) by the Corps in the early 1990’s, the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) has championed and further developed the SVP approach to collaborative modeling.  Aside from the intensive and continuous collaboration, the thing that most sets SVP apart is the use of collaboratively developed decision-support models.  These models serve as the primary tools for plan formulation and evaluation, and are designed to be transparent and easy-to-use. 

SVP models are typically integrated tools in that they include hydrologic and hydraulic simulations, along with economic, environmental, and other performance measures.  Collaboration with stakeholders is structured around model building as a core group of modelers receives input on data and model development by representatives of other interests that, in turn, communicate with the full range of interested or affected stakeholders. 

SVP has been applied to water management studies as part of the National Drought Study in the 1990s, on water allocation in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa-Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basins, long-term water supply planning in Rappahannock River basin in Virginia, and for reservoir operations in the Mississippi River headwaters in Minnesota.  Ongoing project include using the SVP approach to address water quality issues in Oregon’s Willamette basin, state planning and regulatory issues in Virginia’s James River basin, a look at potential regulation schemes for the upper Great Lakes, and an interstate demonstration for the Western States Water Council on the Bear River.


IWR will provide CaDWR training and technical assistance on the application of SVP to support development of the next California Water Plan.  IWR will work with state officials to develop recommendations for:

  • How to conduct workshops with stakeholders to describe all components of the water management system  (estimates of future urban, agricultural and environmental water uses, management responses to meet these future uses, water-energy relationships, water-water quality relationships and ecosystem services) and the interaction among components;
  • Appropriate application of a visual modeling environment including developing performance criteria, alternative future conditions and management alternatives;
  • Necessary level of stakeholder representation and expertise in the workshops;,
  • How to effectively use the Internet for providing information to workshop participants.