Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Programs

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a collaborative effort to manage all aspects of water resources in a region. IRWM differs from traditional approaches to water resource management by integrating all facets of water supply, water quality, waste water treatment, and flood storm water management. IRWM crosses jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries; involves multiple agencies, stakeholders, individuals and groups; and attempts to address the issues and differing perspectives of all entities involved through mutually beneficial solutions.

2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant Funding
The IRWM Grant Program is designed to encourage integrated regional strategies for management of water resources and to provide funding for implementation projects that support integrated water management. The 2015 IRWM Grant will disburse the remaining grant funding under Proposition 84 (2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant). Information relating to previous IRWM Grant funding programs are included below. Proposition 84 IRWM Grant information, grant guidelines and for the PSP, please visit the Department of Water Resources (DWR) website.  

Eligibility Criteria and Prioritization Processes 
Applications for IRWM grants must meet all relevant eligibility criteria in order to be considered for funding. Additional eligibility criteria may be applicable to specific appropriations of funding. Such appropriation specific elements will be found in the PSPs.  

IRWM establishes a prioritization process to determine which projects best meet regions needs. The prioritization process is intended to be a transparent and defensible method that encourages the development and submittal of projects that are best suited to meeting the identified needs of the region. Project scoring was developed to rate projects on their ability to do the following:

  • project readiness
  • contribute to regional objectives;
  • integrate multiple water management strategies;
  • provide multiple benefits;
  • benefit the entire region;
  • benefit disadvantaged communities;
  • address environmental justice needs;
  • build upon other local and regional planning efforts; and
  • foster partnerships among entities.

Project Selection Process for South Orange County Watershed Management Area

The South Orange County Watershed Management Area (WMA) IRWM Group call for projects closed on April 23, 2015. More than 10 projects were submitted for consideration to receive Proposition 84 Implementation Grant 2015 funding. The focus has now shifted to project selection. Projects that met goals defined in the 2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant guidelines as well as the goals and objectives of the South Orange County IRWM Group have been identified for potential funding, A public stakeholder workshop to discuss project elements and rankings was held on May 12, 2015. The final list of projects recommended by watershed area stakeholders and the Watershed Management Area Management Committee will go before the Executive Committee for final approval at the June 4, 2015 meeting. Projects approved by the Executive Committee will be included as part of the application to be submitted to the Department of Water Resources on or before August 7, 2015. For more information please contact Jenna Voss

Project Selection Process for North & Central Orange County Watershed Management Area

For North and Central Orange County WMA’s, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) website at has information for submitting projects. Please submit forms directly to SAWPA with a cc to Beatrice Musacchia for North Orange County and Central Orange County Watershed Management Areas, if you would like your project included in the local IRWM plans.

Previous Grant Funding Opportunities

Proposition 50 Grant Funding
In November 2002, California voters passed Proposition 50, the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002 to fund competitive grants for projects consistent with an adopted IRWM plan. The grant program was run as a joint effort between the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board to provide both planning and implementation grants to IRWM efforts.

Proposition 84 and 1E Grant Funding-Round 1 and 2
DWR has released draft guidelines for Proposition 84 and 1E grants that will improve water management throughout the State. The Proposition 84 and 1E grant cycles will provide at least $11 million to South Orange County over the next few years. The first round of grants were awarded in 2012 and the second in 2013. To be eligible for this grant funding, a project must be part of the IRWM Plan. Examples of projects that may be supported by these grants include water conservation programs, recycled water retrofits, infrastructure upgrades, pollution reduction activities, and habitat conservation and preservation.

In November 2012, DWR released the Final Guidelines for the Proposition 84/1E IRWM Grant program. These guidelines are intended to establish the general process, procedures, and criteria that DWR uses to implement each IRWM Grant Program. DWR has a number of IRWM grant program funding opportunities. Previous IRWM grant programs include: planning, implementation, and stormwater flood management. The Proposal Solicitation Packages (PSP) for the Planning grant and the Stormwater Flood Management grant is available from DWR at the state’s website. The Proposal Solicitation Packages (PSP) for the Implementation grant is available from DWR at the state’s website.

Complimentary grant funds will also be provided by Proposition 1E for storm water management and flood control projects.  Individual Proposition 1E grant applications must be consistent with the local IRWM Plan.

2014 Proposition 84 Drought Grant Funding
DWR has been directed by the Governor and Legislature to expedite the solicitation and award of $200 million in IRWM funding to support projects and programs that provide immediate regional drought preparedness, increase local water supply reliability and the delivery of safe drinking water, assist water suppliers and regions to implement conservation programs and measures that are not locally cost effective, and/or reduce water quality conflicts or ecosystem conflicts created by the drought. Proposition 84 funded Drought Grant Guidelines and IRWM Implementation Grant PSP are available by following the respective links.