Integrated Regional Water Management, commonly known as IRWM,
aims to collectively manage all aspects of water resources in a
region. This approach includes all constituencies, including
those that traditionally have been outside of the water planning
and policy process such as tribal representatives.
IRWM reflects an increasing regional self-reliance to meet water
supply needs and the recognition that regional water assets, such
as groundwater banking, are necessary to reduce the need for
water conveyed over long distances.
IRWM stresses that water resources are usually not confined to
simple boundaries that fall under the jurisdiction of a single
management agency. Instead water resources often flow
across regions and in turn require a consensus-based,
cross-jurisdictional, regional approach. Along the way,
water purveyors, planners, landowners, stakeholders, and others
become involved and thus integral to IRWM planning. Programs
typically include components of land use planning, environmental
protection/restoration and groundwater management.
Climate change is fundamentally transforming the way we manage
water in the Western U.S. The recent Fourth California Climate
Change Assessment lays out the many pressures facing water
managers in California in detail. One key take-away of that
Assessment is that past climate conditions will not be a good
proxy for the state’s water future, and smarter strategies are
needed to manage California’s water.
With four straight days of rain, the Los Angeles River has come
alive. Thanks to Measure W, which was passed by voters last
November, projects will be funded and infrastructure will be
built to capture, treat and recycle all this rain
water. Measure W is predicted to raise $300 million per
year for L.A. County off a new property tax for what is called
impermeable areas. That would be the driveway of your house,
concrete patio or anything that stops water from going into the
The announcement finalizes prioritization of 458 basins,
identifying 56 that are required to create groundwater
sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act. For most basins, the results are a confirmation
of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins
remain under review with final prioritization expected in late
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater
Congress, a panel of experts discussed emerging issues as
agencies work to develop their plans to comply with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which became law in
California in 2014.
Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships
among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring
water quality within California and throughout the Southwest
and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the
Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US
Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).
Joaquin Esquivel learned that life is
what happens when you make plans. Esquivel, who holds the public
member slot at the State Water Resources Control Board in
Sacramento, had just closed purchase on a house in Washington
D.C. with his partner when he was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown a
year ago to fill the Board vacancy.
Esquivel, 35, had spent a decade in Washington, first in several
capacities with then Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and then as
assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California
Natural Resources Agency. As a member of the State Water Board,
he shares with four other members the difficult task of
ensuring balance to all the uses of California’s water.
A new study could help water
agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless
face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and
The Santa Ana Watershed Project
Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a
comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing
strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people
(including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that
extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County
The 1-1/2 day “Integrated Regional Water Management 2.0: The Next
Generation” was held May 21-22 2015 in San Diego. The
conference was cosponsored by the California Department
of Water Resources and the Water Education Foundation in
partnership with the Roundtable of Regions.
DWR’s Kamyar Guivetchi presents the California Water Plan,
touching on the importance of integrated water management; the
nexus between the California Water Plan and the California
Water Action Plan; the three overarching themes of integration,
alignment and investment; and the plan’s “Roadmap for Action.”
This 24-page booklet traces the development of the
landmark Water Forum Agreement, signed in April 2000 by 40
Sacramento region water purveyors, public officials, community
group leaders, environmentalists and business representatives.
The publication also offers insight on lessons learned by
Water Forum participants.
This printed issue of Western Water discusses low
impact development and stormwater capture – two areas of emerging
interest that are viewed as important components of California’s
future water supply and management scenario.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water examines the Russian and
Santa Ana rivers – areas with ongoing issues not dissimilar to
the rest of the state – managing supplies within a lingering
drought, improving water quality and revitalizing and restoring
the vestiges of the native past.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water