Adaptive Management and the Analysis of California’s Water Resources

Water resource management in California is a precarious and costly balancing act. Various federal, state, and municipal organizations have a stake in the management of California’s water resources. In the case of the Sacramento River Delta, they all compete to manage a single resource. Decisions made about the Delta affect millions of Californians, as well as the endangered species in the Delta’s delicate estuarial ecosystem, such as the Delta smelt. It is therefore critical that these decisions be based on transparent, reproducible, and comparable analyses of the best available data.

In this demonstration developed by Palantir and environmental consultants from NewFields, we show how Palantir’s data fusion platforms can help tackle different facets of the adaptive resource management problem. We use the Palantir Gotham platform to map out the relationships of the various organizations managing the Delta, as well as the documents they publish and the data sources they maintain. With Palantir Metropolis, we use data from monitoring stations that are scattered throughout the Delta to analyze relationships between smelt abundance, salinity (and an associated metric called X2), and other physical factors in the Delta such as temperature and turbidity (cloudiness of the water). The Palantir Metropolis platform offers a means to compare scientific analyses at the high level of granularity needed to make critical management decisions. Users can conduct and modify competing analyses side by side to easily see where different models or underlying data diverge and lead to different conclusions.


The Chart application in Palantir Metropolis allows users to share their analysis and conclusions, quickly and easily. In this case, an analyst displays the changes in water salinity over time.

This kind of analysis can give policy makers maximum insight into the relationships between the variables that affect the Delta’s health and allow them to make decisions that appropriately weigh the interests of all parties involved.