Integrated Regional Water Management
The IRWM story began in 2002 when the Regional Water Management Planning Act (SB 1672) was passed by the Legislature. Since then, California voters have approved more than $2 billion in bond funds (Propositions 1E, 50, 84, and 1) to plan and implement over 1,450 integrated, multi-benefit regional projects across the state that foster climate resilience by mitigating drought impacts, improving water supply reliability, reducing flood and fire risk, increasing surface and groundwater storage, restoring and enhancing ecosystems, and improving water quality. On average, the local communities receiving state grants have generously matched the state funding with local and/or federal resources, on the order of 2.5 to 1. Cities, counties, water agencies, special districts, non-governmental organizations, community/environmental groups, underrepresented/disadvantage communities, Tribes and others across the State have worked collaboratively to organize and establish 48 regional water management groups, covering over 87 percent of the State's area and 99 percent of its population.
IRWM Grant Programs
Various types of grant programs have been conducted by DWR and the State Water Board to deliver bond funding since 2002:
- IRWM planning grants have helped regional water management groups develop, adopt and update IRWM plans to identify strategies and projects to address the unique needs and conditions of their regions, including climate change vulnerability.
- IRWM implementation grants have resulted in implementation of 800+ IRWM projects providing a wide range of benefits.
- IRWM disadvantaged community and Tribal involvement grants have supported identification and involvement of underrepresented communities (including disadvantage communities) and Tribes in the regional IRWM planning and decision making processes, resulting in increased funding and support for projects benefiting these communities.
Our DWR grant managers are located in downtown Sacramento and our four Region Offices, located in Glendale, Fresno, West Sacramento, and Red Bluff.
Future of IRWM
Based on extensive stakeholder input compiled by DWR during a strategic planning effort in 2015-16, the key needs of IRWM regions for the future viability include greater recognition and support by federal, state and local agencies and Tribes; better alignment of government policies, regulations and programs; and additional investments/sustained funding at the state and local level. IRWM practitioners hold that a comprehensive suite of actions must be taken now to ensure the future of IRWM; those recommended actions are documented in the 2017 report “Stakeholder Perspectives – Recommendations for Sustaining and Strengthening IRWM”.