Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) brings together the public agencies and stakeholders of a California region in order to collaboratively manage all the components of its water resources, including water supply and quality, wastewater collection and treatment, recycled water, stormwater, flood control, and watershed and habitat management.An IRWM Plan covers a wide range of water resource management strategies, examines the regional benefits of these strategies, and identifies regional priorities for implementing projects. The California Water Code, Section 10534, defines an IRWM Plan as:
“A comprehensive plan for a defined geographic area, the specific development, content, and adoption of which shall satisfy requirements pursuant to this part. At a minimum, an IRWM Plan describes the major water-related objectives and conflicts within a region, considers a broad variety of resource management strategies, identifies the appropriate mix of water demand and supply management alternatives, water quality protections, and environmental stewardship actions to provide long-term, reliable, and high-quality water supplies and protect the environment, and identifies disadvantaged communities in the region and takes the water-related needs of those communities into consideration.”
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has created IRWM Grant Programs in order to provide funding for regions during the planning and implementation phases of IRWM and for stormwater and flood management. More information about Integrated Regional Water Management is available on the California Department of Water Resources’ IRWM website.The East Contra Costa County IRWM Region is comprised of Twelve Member Agencies which are currently in the process of updating the region’s IRWM Plan. The region adopted a Functionally Equivalent Integrated Regional Water Management Plan in 2005 and was formally accepted as an IRWM region by the California Department of Water Resources in 2009 through the Region Acceptance Process. The IRWM Plan Update began in early 2012 and is expected to finish with adoption of the Plan in mid-2013. The update will include a more formal integrated planning process that will meet the new IRWM Guidelines published by the Department of Water Resources in August 2010. The update process includes identifying regional water management objectives, holding a call for Projects, prioritizing those projects,providing current information about the region, and adding the results of new analyses such as a climate change vulnerability assessment and a groundwater management plan.
Participation from stakeholders and the public is an important aspect of the IRWM Plan Update. Several opportunities for stakeholder and public participation are planned, and information on how to participate will be updated on the Home Page as it becomes available.