Success Stories

Climate Resiliency Planning: 

The Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County (IRWM Region) recently completed a collaborative process regarding the impacts of climate change on their region. This process, hosted through IRWM, began with a study conducted by climatologists at the Desert Research Institute who provided down-scaled projections for future changes in climate based on accepted climate models. The results are informing development of adaptation strategies and selection of projects/programs for implementation. Two workshops and a series of small group meetings were conducted with local stakeholders and the researchers, resulting in new opportunities and methods to be climate resilient.

Measurable Benefits:

Santa Barbara County IRWM: The City of Santa Barbara completed their Recycled Water Enhancement Project through IRWM planning and funding efforts. The Project supports regional priorities of protecting, conserving, and augmenting water supplies by upgrading the City's recycled water plant in order to meet turbidity requirements so the City no longer needs to use potable “blend water” to serve its recycled water customers, thus reducing the City’s potable water demand by up to 990 acre-feet per year.

SGMA & IRWM Facilitation:

San Diego IRWM: Through IRWM, the Yuima Municipal Water District is facilitating the partnership of six water districts and resource conservation districts and the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, an intertribal organization formed by five San Luis Rey basin tribes. The groundwater sub-basin aquifers are depleted, putting stress on water supplies for the many overlying disadvantaged communities. These stakeholder engagement efforts are the first steps toward developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Upper San Luis Rey Valley Groundwater Sub-basin, located in the Pauma Valley in North San Diego County. Regional-scale stakeholder engagement through IRWM can continue to support SGMA efforts.    

Achieving Resiliency:

In the Santa Ana River watershed, the One Water One Watershed (OWOW) Program used IRWM grants to encourage agencies to focus on actions to benefit he entire watershed. The result was the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Project, which combines demand reduction with groundwater banking to increase resilience. The heart of the project is collaboration to optimize the multiple distinct groundwater basins in order to store imported water during the wet years, and then produce dry year supplies to benefit all partners. The partners include the five large water agencies in three different counties whose service area comprise the entire urbanized part of the watershed.

Underserved and Disadvantaged Communities:  

Mojave Water Agency’s Small Water System (SWS) Assistance Program developed through the Mojave IRWM Plan, has leveraged over $2.3 million to support disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged SWSs that lack the technical, managerial and financial resources to test for and detect leaks, certify and train operators, support consolidation efforts and address water quality standards through Maximum Contaminant Load (MCL) treatment projects.  The Mojave IRWM region has partnered with a non-profit who specializes in assisting rural disadvantaged water systems and traditionally underserved utilities to make them sustainable moving forward. The Program consistently attracts financial support from a variety of local, state level and federal sources and serves approximately 40 disadvantaged small water systems in the region.

Investing in Ecosystems:

Inyo-Mono IRWM: The Inyo-Mono IRWM Region received funding for a stream stabilization study for the Oak Creek watershed on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in collaboration with the Inyo National Forest and the Fort Independence Indian Reservation. The study serves as the planning foundation for the restoration of the Oak Creek watershed, which experienced a severe flood and mudslide following a fire in the watershed in previous years.

Connections:  

The North Coast Resource Partnership (NCRP) is a long-term, innovative and successful collaboration among Northern California Tribes, counties, water and wastewater service providers, resource conservation districts, private landowners, businesses, cities, and environmental and agricultural groups to enhance the quality of life in the North Coast. NCRP leadership includes locally elected county supervisors and Tribal representatives. The NCRP places a strong emphasis on local autonomy and addressing the needs of economically disadvantaged communities. The NCRP shares the boundary with the North Coast IRWM Funding Area,

Collaboration:  

San Diego IRWM has funded two phases of a project that brought together 10 water and wastewater agencies on a regional project to improve connectivity between individual recycled water facilities in North San Diego County. The project will increase use of recycled water by allowing it to be distributed across the North County region and will produce an estimated 6,790 acre-feet of recycled water annually. The project benefits include reducing imported water dependency, decreasing discharge of recycled water to the ocean and reducing energy consumption from pumping imported water.

Watershed Focus: 

Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County IRWM is structured based on a watershed approach; the governance structure includes 3 semi-independent watershed groups, a leadership committee including 2 representatives from each watershed; and the general membership inclusive of all stakeholders in the region.  Each watershed group addresses the unique needs and interests of its stakeholders and water resource characteristics in planning and project identification.  Ultimately decisions are made by the full regional group, balancing the needs and goals of each watershed with those of the entire region.

Inclusive Governance:

South Orange County WMA IRWM: The SOC Watershed Management Area (WMA) IRWM is a 22-Member Agency cooperative agreement comprising the backbone for the funding and governance structure for IRWM stakeholder activities that are developed and then successfully implemented through projects for the past decade. The IRWM Group and other NGO, regulatory and municipal representatives identified the need for a watershed-based, stakeholder-driven project development framework, providing opportunities for water, wastewater, stormwater, and groundwater representatives to coordinate on a regional scale with a data-driven planning process that helps meet statewide resiliency goals.

Funding Alignment:

Greater Los Angeles Counties IRWM Region: The Safe, Clean Water Program is a Los-Angeles based special property tax that passed by voters in November 2018. This Program was developed collaboratively with stakeholders to create an expenditure plan to implement eligible municipal, regional, and district-wide programs and projects for improved water supply, water quality and community investment. Implementation is ongoing and includes integrated regional governance committees, broad stakeholder input, DAC consideration, and transparency and accountability. The result from this Program will be up to $300 million in annual revenue starting in Spring 2020.

Comprehensive Management:  

Upper Sacramento-McCloud IRWM Region: After seven years of writing the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Lower Pit River IRWM Plan, a diverse group of stakeholders including municipalities, Tribes and community organizations have built an unprecedented level of trust and familiarity in Siskiyou County. With an established foundation for communication and a successful track record of funding projects, the IRWM stakeholders are strengthening their region’s capacity to respond appropriately to climate change.  Important investments include funding grey and green infrastructure improvement projects in this critical source water area to replenish California’s high quality, water supply and serve as a giant carbon sink for the state.

Leveraging Funding:

The Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) IRWM group has successfully attracted more than $20 million from a variety of sources, including the California Department of Water Resources for a series of integrated water management programs, developing a broad funding portfolio. One example is the CABY-sponsored project at the Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, a collaborative project with the state, US Geological Survey, US Forest Service, and The Sierra Fund assessing an historic gold mine for remediation to improve water quality in the Yuba River.

Communicating Success:

Inyo-Mono IRWM has developed a video, Living in the Rain Shadow, that identifies how rural communities in the Eastern Sierra have benefited from IRWM. The video can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/98829203

© 2020 by Roundtable of Regions.