What is IRWM?
Integrated Regional Water Management is a collaborative effort to identify and implement water management solutions on a regional scale that increase regional self-reliance, reduce conflict and manage water to concurrently achieve social, environmental, and economic objectives. IRWMs differ from traditional approaches to water resource management by integrating all facets of water supply, water quality, wastewater, recycled water, flood water, and storm water management.
IRWM crosses jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries; involves multiple agencies, non-profit organizations, other groups and interested individuals; and attempts to address the issues and differing perspectives of the stakeholders involved to achieve mutually beneficial solutions. This approach delivers higher value for investments by collaboratively developing sustainable solutions that provide multiple benefits including improved water quality, restored and enhanced ecosystems, resilient forests, better flood management, and more reliable surface and groundwater supplies.
48 IRWM Regions Statewide
IRWM Regions are self-organized, geographically-based groups of entities accepted by DWR as Regional Water Management Groups (RWMGs) for the purpose of developing regional priorities, identifying shared opportunities, and speaking with one voice for regional self-sufficiency. IRWM Plans also operate as a door to state funding for much-needed grants for water-related infrastructure, watershed health, and in-region capacity building.
Since 2004 when the Roundtable formed, members have participated in numerous conference calls and summits, and the Roundtable has conducted four comprehensive surveys of the membership. These activities provide an opportunity for members to share successes and challenges and to advise DWR regarding the IRWM grant programs.
One important role played by the Roundtable in recent years was participation in the development of a strategic plan for the future of IRWM, developed by DWR with the help of a focus group. Five members of the Roundtable participated on the focus group established to guide development of this IRWM Strategic Plan. In May 2015, DWR released a document (titled Conference Exhibit) that contained highlights from the IRWM Strategic Plan that were presented at the IRWM 2.0 Conference in San Diego. The full IRWM Strategic Plan has yet to be publicly released. This Strategic Plan could play an important role in determining the future level of support for IRWM at the statewide level and the Roundtable strongly supports its release.
For those not as familiar with Integrated Regional Water Management, the IRWM Roundtable of Regions hosted a “Pre-Summit Orientation” on Thursday, September 10th from 10 – 11:30 a.m. with a Tribal Session that followed from 11:30 – 12:15. The purpose of the orientation is to help participants understand what IRWM is – and isn’t – and the benefits of participating in their regional IRWM. Click here for Pre-Summit Orientation Recording.