State of California

FloodSAFE California ($5B Levee Program)

FloodSAFE California History


The State of California voters approved approximately $5B to be used to accomplish five primary things:

  • Reduce the Chance of Flooding – Reduce the frequency and size of floods that could damage California communities, homes and property, and critical public infrastructure.
  • Reduce the Consequences of Flooding – Take actions prior to flooding that will help reduce the adverse consequences of floods when they do occur and allow for quicker recovery after flooding.
  • Sustain Economic Growth – Provide continuing opportunities for prudent economic development that supports robust regional and statewide economies without creating additional flood risk.
  • Protect and Enhance Ecosystems – Improve flood management systems in ways that protect, restore and where possible enhance ecosystems and other public trust resources.
  • Promote Sustainability – Take actions that improve compatibility with the natural environment and reduce the expected costs to operate and maintain flood management systems into the future.

Unfortunately, the expectations of the voters and the politicians were well-ahead of DWR’s ability to execute — as the state had chronically under-funded flood management, and the organizational readiness needed bolstering. In addition, FloodSAFE crossed divisional boundaries throughout DWR, and the department had historically not delivered massive programs in an integrated manner. As such, the department needed to realign itself into a program-based organizational model to deliver FloodSAFE in the most effective, efficient manner.


Acting as a sub-contractor to Synergy Connects, Inc. (a project delivery-focused professional services firm head by Dave Ellison), during 2006 – 2009 R S Tipton, Inc. provided leadership and direct consulting services related to strategic planning, conflict resolution, team chartering, leadership team alignment, strategic communication and public relations, bond accountability, and overall quality assurance / quality control.

FloodSAFE California Synergy Connects Workshop #1FloodSAFE California Synergy Connects Workshop #2



The graphic below shows the program-centered delivery model that DWR has used for FloodSAFE. Obviously there’s a tremendous amount of detail behind this picture, but the overall benefits to the State of California taxpayers have been significant: clear communication, specific accountability for funding, unambiguous roles and responsibilities, mutually-agreed upon priorities and schedules, etc. Direct benefits total in the millions of dollars saved.

FloodSAFE California Program Centered Org

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