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.

Call for Projects

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). Applicants seeking to apply for a 2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant will need to have engaged in the IRWM Planning process, and adhere to both the Guidelines and appropriate Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) relevant to the current funding. Information relating to the previous IRWM Grant program are included below.

The South Orange County Watershed Management Area (WMA) IRWM Group is now accepting projects that seek to meet Statewide priorities for drought preparedness, more efficient use and reuse of water, climate change response, expansion of environmental stewardship, integrated flood management, protection of surface water and groundwater quality, improvement of tribal water and natural resources and to ensure equitable distribution of IRWM benefits. Projects should meet goals defined in the 2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant guidelines, including diversification of water supplies, maximizing groundwater potential, protection and improvement of surface water quality, promotion of integrated flood management, protection and restoration of watershed habitat and promotion of economic, social, land use and environmental sustainability.

For more information about the 2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant, grant guidelines and for the PSP, please visit the Department of Water Resources (DWR) website. Stakeholders in South Orange County may submit water management projects using our online project information form. Interested project proponents will also need to complete a project score sheet to submit along with project forms; please contact Jenna Voss to receive an electronic copy of the project score sheet and to submit project forms once completed. All project materials must be submitted by April 23, 2015 for 2015 Proposition 84 IRWM Grant funding.

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.

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.