The latest version of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Plan was released today for public review, a critical step in making the region eligible for $45 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.
Four meetings are planned throughout the region over the next several weeks that will allow the public to learn more about the 2013 IRWM Plan and comment on it. The draft IRWM Plan is available for review at www.sdirwmp.org, and the comment period ends July 31.
The meetings are organized by watershed:
San Juan, Santa Margarita and San Luis Rey watersheds
1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, July 11
Oceanside Civic Center, Community Rooms
330 North Coast Highway, Oceanside
Pueblo, Sweetwater, Otay and Tijuana watersheds
1 to 3 p.m., Friday, July 12
Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library
365 F Street, Chula Vista
Carlsbad and San Dieguito watersheds
1 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 17
Vista City Hall, Community Room
200 Civic Center Drive, Vista
Los Penasquitos and San Diego River watersheds
3 to 4:30 p.m., Friday, July 19
Mission Valley Library, Community Room
2123 Fenton Parkway, San Diego
Integrated water management planning is a cooperative effort of the San Diego County Water Authority, the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego, with 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.
To date, the regional planning process has identified 30 water-related projects that were selected for state grants worth a total of$32.9 million from two voter-approved state water bonds. Those projects included expanding the distribution system for recycled water, acquiring lands for watershed habitat protection and reducing the amount of polluted runoff into local streams. The region also received a $1 million state grant to help pay for updating the IRWM Plan to comply with new state guidelines and requirements.
By developing an integrated strategy, we can help improve the health of our watersheds and maintain our reliable water supply,” said Mark Stadler, the IRWM program manager and a water resources planner at the Water Authority. “People who want to help the region continue to meet these goals should read the draft IRWM Plan and participate in the public review process."
Since late 2011, IRWM stakeholders across San Diego County have been contributing to the plan update through forums and workgroups. Issues that emerged include the impact of regulations on water supply and water quality, and the importance of collaboration between public agencies and non-governmental organizations to enhance water management. The draft available for public review incorporates the concept of sustainability, expands on how projects are evaluated and prioritized, and adds content about the impact of climate change on water supplies.
“I really appreciate how inclusive the update process for the IRWM Plan has been,” said Robyn Badger, an architect at the San Diego Zoo and a member of the San Diego IRWM advisory committee. “There have been many opportunities to get involved, from the workgroups devoted to different topics to all of the public meetings held around the region.”
The final plan is expected to be adopted by the Water Authority, the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego in September.