Frequently Asked Questions

What is IRWM?

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a collaborative effort to manage all aspects of water resources in a region. IRWM differs from traditional approaches to water resource management by integrating all facets of water supply, water quality, waste water treatment, and flood and storm water management. IRWM crosses jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries; involves multiple agencies, stakeholders, individuals, and groups; and attempts to address the issues and differing perspectives of all the entities involved through mutually beneficial solutions. IRWM is an example of integrated resource planning, which began in the late 1980s in the electric power industry as a comprehensive approach to resource management and planning.

When applied to water management, integrated resource planning is a systems approach that explores the cause and-effect relationships between different aspects of water resource management, with an understanding that changes in the management of one aspect of water resources can affect others. Because water re- sources are often not confined to the boundaries of a single water management agency, a consensus-based, cross-jurisdictional, regional approach provides an opportunity to formulate comprehensive solutions to water resource issues within a region. The methods used in the IRWM include a range of water resource management strategies, which relate to water supply, water quality, water use efficiency, operational flexibility, and stewardship of land and natural resources.

What are the benefits of IRWM?

As indicated in the CWP Update 2009, IRWM is a key initiative to ensuring reliable water supplies in the future. IRWM helps communities and regions incorporate sustainable actions into their water management efforts. A main focus of IRWM planning is di- versification of a region’s water portfolio so that multiple resource management strategies are employed in meeting future water and water quality needs of all sectors. This diversification should help regions to better prepare to face an un- certain future of water availability and water use; while protecting and improving water quality and the environment. As a key initiative in the CWP, IRWM is a long-term approach to water management in California. As IRWM evolves, DWR seeks to encourage planning efforts that are collaborative and use broad stakeholder participation to gain the input that leads to diversity of water management strategies. Such planning efforts can live well into the future beyond current state funding incentives.

Is an IRWMP required for all future water projects?

No. Participation in an IRWMP is voluntary. However, if an agency or group is seeking IRWMP grant funding, then the project must be included in an IRWMP and the project sponsor must adopt the IRWMP if the grant is awarded. However, water agencies and groups can still independently pursue projects using their own funding sources. Adopting an IRWMP is not a requirement for federal funding or for non-IRWMP related state funding.

Why is IRWM important to me? Why should I participate?

IRWM operates on the principle that each stakeholder holds a piece of the water management solution for their region and that the best solutions require better communication and understanding of regional issues than has previously occurred. The more partners involved in an IRWM, the higher the potential for better water management solutions.

In addition to the IRWM grants, are there other sources to fund a project?

Yes, while recent State bond funding measures have provided a large amount of grant funding specifically for IRWM plans and implementation, there are other opportunities for projects. Various state grant and loan programs, administered by DWR and other state agencies, can provide funding, including: FloodSAFE, urban streams, local groundwater assistance, stormwater quality, rivers and parkways, and state revolving fund loans. Federal funding may also be available for some types of projects. Local financing will make up the largest portion of funding in many regions. The IRWM plan should serve as a strategic investment plan for all sources of funding.

How can I participate?

If you have any questions about USCR IRWMP please contact Rick Vasilopulos at Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency by email at: or by phone at (661) 705-7912. Stakeholder meetings are held every other month generally on the fourth Thursday.

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