Integrated Water Planning

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Water Planning

Regional plan highlights collaborative watershed management

The draft 2013 San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Plan was released for public review in June, a critical step in maintaining the region’s eligibility for up to $56 million in state grant funding.

The IRWM Plan establishes goals for improving the reliability of local water supplies and protecting and enhancing water quality and natural resources in the county’s 11 watersheds that flow to the Pacific Ocean. In recent years, the regional planning process has identified 30 water-related projects that were then selected for state grants worth $33 million from two voter-approved water bonds. 

Integrated water management planning is a cooperative effort of the Water Authority, the city of San Diego and the county of San Diego. It also involves, and gets support from a diverse set of stakeholders that include water suppliers and other public agencies, non-profit groups interested in water and natural resource issues, disadvantaged communities and watershed advocacy groups.

The inaugural IRWM Plan in 2007 created an unprecedented effort to synthesize water resources management in the region. Stakeholder forums for the most recent update started in 2011; the process is expected to formally conclude in late 2013.

Two Water Authority IRWM projects that began work in fiscal year 2013 were a project to improve water quality and combat quagga mussels in Lake Hodges (upper left), and a program to promote more-sustainable landscapes (above).


Helping local agencies develop new supplies

Both funding phases of the Water Authority’s Local Investigations and Studies Assistance Program were completed in fiscal year 2013. In total, this multi-year program granted 13 member agencies $5.2 million in matching funds for research, exploration and development of potential new local water supplies. The projects included planning and design efforts related to groundwater, water recycling and seawater desalination.