How Do We Plan for Water in California?

About IRWM Regions

“Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) 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. (California Department of Water Resources)”

Integrated Regional Water Management Planning Act (SB 1672) has provided over $1.5 billion in State funding dedicated to support and advance integrated, multi-benefit regional projects.WaterTalks supports California’s collaborative effort, Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), in three of Southern California’s planning areas:

  • Greater Los Angeles County (GLAC)
  • Upper Santa Clara River (USCR)
  • Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County (WCVC)
IRWM Regons

IRWM meetings are open to the public! To learn more visit:

What Sources of Funding are Available for Water-Related Projects?

Proposition 1

In addition to funding from the Regional Water Management Planning Act, Proposition 1, The Water Quality, Supply & Infrastructure Improvement Act, is another primary potential funding source to support water-related multi-benefit projects throughout our community. Multi-benefit projects address two or more of the following:

  • water quality
  • stormwater management
  • flood management
  • restored and enhanced ecosystems
  • reliable surface and groundwater supplies

Year: 2014

Funding Available: $7.545 billion in bonds in California, including $98 million in the LA-Ventura Funding Area.

What can be funded: Water-related projects including surface and groundwater storage, water recycling, and stormwater projects.

Other Potential Funding Sources for Water and Green Infrastructure Projects

About Water Management Programs in California

Click on any of the tabs below to learn about the many programs that are integral to California’s water resources, sustainability and ongoing improvements. You can also visit the California Department of Water Resources for a comprehensive list of their programs:

The Department of Water Resources also offers a mapping tool for water management planning designed to assist with responsibilities related to IRWM, SGMA, and the CA Water Plan:

“Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) 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. This approach delivers higher value for investments by considering all interests, providing multiple benefits, and working across jurisdictional boundaries. Examples of multiple benefits include improved water quality, better flood management, restored and enhanced ecosystems, and more reliable surface and groundwater supplies.

The IRWM story began in 2002 when the Regional Water Management Planning Act (SB 1672) was passed by the Legislature. Since then, various bond acts approved by California voters have provided over $1.5 billion in State funding to support and advance integrated, multi-benefit regional projects. The local match on the State resources has been impressive; often on the order of 4:1. Cities, counties, water districts, community/environmental groups, 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.”

(California Department of Water Resources,

“The California Water Plan is the State’s strategic plan for sustainably managing and developing water resources for current and future generations. Required by Water Code Section 10005(a), it presents the status and trends of California’s water-dependent natural resources; water supplies; and agricultural, urban, and environmental water demands for a range of plausible future scenarios.

The plan:

  • Is updated every five years
  • Provides a way for various groups to collaborate on findings and recommendations and make informed decisions regarding California’s water future
  • Elected officials
  • Government agencies
  • Tribes
  • Water and resource managers
  • Businesses
  • Academia
  • Stakeholders
  • General public
  • Can’t mandate actions or authorize spending for specific actions
  • Doesn’t make project- or site-specific recommendations nor include environmental review or documentation as would be required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Requires policy- and law-makers to take definitive steps to authorize the specific actions proposed in the plan and appropriate funding needed for their implementation”

( California Department of Water Resources,

“About 30 percent of Southern California’s water comes from the State Water Project, the largest state-built water and power system in the nation. The project runs from Lake Oroville in Northern California to Southern California, crossing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta along the way. The SWP serves a population of nearly 25 million Californians from the Bay Area to San Diego as well as providing irrigation for some of the nation’s most productive farmland in the Central Valley. The State Water Project is operated and maintained by the California Department of Water Resources and includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes; 20 pumping plants; 4 pumping-generating plants; 5 hydroelectric power plants; and about 700 miles of open canals and pipelines.”

(The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California,

“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta plays a major role in California’s prosperity by supplying drinking water to almost 27 million residents and fueling a $32 billion agricultural industry. It also serves as important habitat to more than 750 animal and plant species, including more than 40 aquatic species. Our Bay-Delta Office (BDO) ensures water supply reliability and environmental needs are equally met for California.”

(California Department of Water Resources,


“California’s geography and weather are the most diverse in the nation, resulting in a variety of natural hazards including flooding. California experiences every type of flooding, though the most common are alluvial fan, riverine, and coastal.

We are committed to sustainable flood management. To use limited resources more effectively, we align our flood management efforts and leverage funding with other regional efforts, such as water supply, environmental enhancements, and transportation projects. When planning and executing our projects, we consider a broad range of potential benefits to improve their value to Californians and their communities.”

(California Department of Water Resources,


LA County:

“The Ventura County Watershed Protection District (District or VCWPD) was formed, in part, to provide for the control and conservation of flood and storm waters, and for the protection and maintenance of watercourses, watersheds, and life and property in the District from damage or destruction from storm flows or flooding. “

(Ventura County:

“Climate change is already having significant and widespread impacts on California’s economy and environment. California’s unique and valuable natural treasures – hundreds of miles of coastline, majestic forests and high value agriculture, snow-melt fed fresh water supply, vast snow and water fueled recreational opportunities, as well as other natural wonders – are especially at risk.

To respond to the threat of climate change, the State has enacted legislation, regulations and executive orders that put the State on the course to achieve robust greenhouse gas reductions while addressing the impacts on the state of a changing climate.

Adopting ambitious climate change goals put California at the forefront of global action. Achieving these goals will require significant collaboration and support from all public entities and private stakeholders representing all sectors of California’s diverse economy. Taking steps now to prepare for and adapt to climate change will protect public health and safety, our economy and our future.” (California Climate Change,