Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a relatively new initiative, aimed at developing long-term water supply reliability, improving water quality, and protecting natural resources. The Statewide IRWM Program is supported by bond funding provided by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to fund competitive grants for projects that improve water resources management.

The San Diego IRWM Program began in 2005 as an interdisciplinary effort by water retailers, wastewater agencies, stormwater and flood managers, watershed groups, the business community, tribes, agriculture, and non-profit stakeholders to improve water resources planning in the San Diego IRWM Region. The program has achieved remarkable success! In 2007, San Diego published its first IRWM Plan and received $25 million from DWR to support 19 high-priority water management projects. In 2011, San Diego obtained another $8 million to support 11 more important projects and $1 million to fund a comprehensive update of the 2007 IRWM Plan. In 2013 and 2014, respectively, $10 million was awarded to support an additional 7 high-priority projects, and $15.1 million awarded for drought relief projects. Most recently, the region was awarded almost $31 million for 13 high priority projections. In total, the Region has received approximately $90 million, which has funded 57 priority projects and the 2013 IRWM Plan update.

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The San Diego Region has updated the 2007 San Diego IRWM Plan to comply with DWR's 2012 IRWM Program Guidelines, improve the content, and make the Region eligible for future rounds of grant funding. The 2013 IRWM Plan has allowed regional stakeholders to revisit the Plan goals, objectives and priorities in light of changes that have occurred since 2007. Like the 2007 IRWM Plan, the 2013 IRWM Plan provides a mechanism for: 1) coordinating, refining and integrating existing planning efforts within a comprehensive, regional context; 2) identifying specific regional and watershed-based priorities for implementation projects; and 3) providing funding support for the plans, programs, projects and priorities of existing agencies and stakeholders.

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