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 ground.
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 spring.
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:
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).
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.
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 sanitation.
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 coast.
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 California.
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 management approach.