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. IRWM is the application of principles on a regional scale.
To learn more about IRWM, please view the IRWM-related publications available through our Publications page.
IRWM enables self-identified regions to integrate and implement water management solutions for their region, which is a foundation of Action 2 in the . The fundamental principle of IRWM is that regional water managers, who are organized into regional water management groups (RWMGs), are best suited and best positioned to manage water resources to meet regional needs. While large inter-regional water management systems, such as the State Water Project, Central Valley Project, and flood management systems, are important, the majority of California's water resource management investments are made at the local and regional level. IRWM has been critical in helping meet California's water management challenges, including the 2014 drought.
DWR's support of RWMGs includes grants and technical and facilitation services. Numerous IRWM planning grants have helped RWMGs develop and adopt IRWM plans for their regions. IRWM implementation grants have helped make more than 350 IRWM projects identified in IRWM plans a reality across the state. Key technical support to RWMGs is provided by DWR's four Region Offices, located in Glendale, Fresno, West Sacramento, and Red Bluff. DWR staff, known as Regional Service Representatives, are the day-to-day contacts for RWMGs, providing information about IRWM and other DWR programs, managing IRWM grant agreements, and serving as the principal contact for technical support and facilitation services.
DWR's IRWM story began in 2002 when the Regional Water Management Planning Act (SB 1672) was passed by the Legislature. Bond acts approved by California voters have provided $1.5 billion to support and advance IRWM. Cities, counties, water districts, community groups, and others across the state have worked with one another to organize and establish RWMGs. These RWMGs have defined 48 IRWM regions that together cover 87 percent of the state's area and 99 percent of its population.
Currently, DWR is developing a Strategic Plan for the Future of IRWM in California to help shape the desired future for IRWM and identify measures needed for that future to be achieved. You can be involved today by going to the Strategic Plan website.