Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Programs

Integrated Regional Water Management Grants (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.

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.

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. Round 3 will follow in 2014/15. 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. Current IRWM grant programs include: planning, implementation, and stormwater flood management. The Proposal Solicitation Packages (PSP) for the Planning grant is available from DWR at the state’s website. The Proposal Solicitation Packages (PSP) for 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 relaibility 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.

Call for Projects

The South Orange County IRWM Group is now accepting projects aimed at diversifying water sources by developing a variety of local opportunities to decrease the reliance on imported sources. Stakeholders may submit water management projects using our online project information form. Please submit project forms and questions to Marilyn Thoms.

For North and Central WMA’s, project forms are on the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) website at http://www.sawpa.org/. Please submit forms directly to SAWPA with a cc to Beatrice Musacchia the North Orange County and Central Orange County Project Manager if you would like your project included in our local plans.

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.


Eligibility Criteria

Applications for IRWM grants must meet all relevant eligibility criteria, listed below, 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.  The following contract requirements are anticipated based on the final 2012 Proposition 84/1E guidelines:

  • Eligibility – Eligible grant recipients are public agencies, non-profit organizations, and tribal governments that are IRWM stakeholders.
  • Proponents of projects included in an IRWM Implementation proposal must adopt the IRWM Plan. Umbrella organizations, such as a Joint Powers Authority, will not be allowed to adopt an IRWM Plan on behalf of its member agencies. Each individual agency proposing a project(s) must adopt the IRWM Plan. If an IRWM region is in the process of updating its IRWM Plan, Project Proponents from that region do not need to adopt the existing Plan, but will be required to adopt the updated plan.
  • Funding Match – Funding match includes all project funds made available by the grant recipient from non-state sources, including federal funds, local funds, and/or in-kind services. All State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans are considered to be State funds. The funding match for Proposition 84 is to be 25 percent of total project costs. The funding match required for proposition 1E is to be 50 percent of total project costs.
  • 10% Retention – For each project, DWR will withhold a minimum 10 percent of the funds requested for reimbursement of eligible costs until the project is completed and the grant recipient has met all reporting requirements.
  • Urban Water Management Planning Act Compliance. Water suppliers who were required by the Urban Water Management Planning Act (CWC §10610 et seq.) to submit an Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) to DWR must have submitted a complete UWMP to be eligible for IRWM Grant Program funding. Applicants and project proponents that are urban water suppliers and have projects that would receive funding through the IRWM Grant program must have a 2010 UWMP that has been verified as complete by DWR before a grant agreement will be executed.
  • AB 1420 Compliance. AB 1420 (Stats. 2007, ch. 628) conditions the receipt of a water management grant or loan, for urban water suppliers, on the implementation of water demand management measures described in CWC §10631. DWR has determined that implementation of the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) best management practices (BMPs) will fulfill the requirements of AB 1420. An urban water supplier may be eligible for a water management grant or loan if it demonstrates that it has implemented or scheduled, or is in the process of implementing or scheduling the implementation of BMPs. Urban water suppliers applying to use grant funds for implementation of BMPs must ensure they have submitted all the necessary information. Therefore, urban water suppliers who are applicants or project proponents in a grant application for either IRWM Implementation or SWFM grants must supply additional information which can found at the following link: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/finance.
  • Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP) Compliance. For groundwater projects or for other projects that directly affect groundwater levels or quality, the applicant or the project proponent responsible for such projects must self-certify that either:
    1. They have prepared and implemented a GWMP in compliance with CWC §10753.7;
    2. They participate or consent to be subject to a GWMP, basin-wide management plan, or other IRWM program or plan that meets the requirements of CWC §10753.7(a);
    3. The Proposal includes development of a GWMP that meets the requirements of CWC §10753.7 and will be completed within 1 year of the grant application submittal date. In the event that a grant solicitation is a 2-step process, DWR will use the due date of the Step 2 application to begin the 1-year compliance period; or
    4. They conform to the requirements of an adjudication of water rights in the subject groundwater basin.Labor Compliance Program – Any grant recipient financing a public works project with IRWM grant funds must adopt and enforce a Labor Compliance Program pursuant to California Labor Code §1771.5(b).
  • CEQA Compliance – All activities funded under the IRWM program must be in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Public Resources Code §21000 et seq.).
  • Watershed Management Plan Consistency – Any watershed protection activities must be consistent with the applicable, adopted, local watershed management plans and the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (CWC §79507).
  • Agriculture Water Management Plan Compliance. Beginning July 1, 2013, an agricultural water supplier is not eligible for a water grant or loan awarded or administered by the State unless the supplier complies with SBx7-7 water conservation requirements outlined in Part 2.55 (commencing with §10608) of Division 6 of the CWC.

  • Surface Water Diversion Reporting Compliance. A diverter of surface water is not eligible for a water grant or loan awarded or administered by the State unless it complies with surface water diversion reporting requirements outlined in Part 5.1 (commencing with §5100) of Division 2 of the CWC.
  • AB 1420 Compliance. AB 1420 (Stats. 2007, ch. 628) conditions the receipt of a water management grant or loan, for urban water suppliers, on the implementation of water demand management measures described in CWC §10631. DWR has determined that implementation of the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) best management practices (BMPs) will fulfill the requirements of AB 1420. An urban water supplier may be eligible for a water management grant or loan if it demonstrates that it has implemented or scheduled, or is in the process of implementing or scheduling the implementation of BMPs. Urban water suppliers applying to use grant funds for implementation of BMPs must ensure they have submitted all the necessary information. Therefore, urban water suppliers who are applicants or project proponents in a grant application for either IRWM Implementation or SWFM grants must supply additional information which can found at the following link: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/finance.
  • CWC §529.5 Compliance. CWC §529.5 requires any urban water supplier applying for State grant funds for wastewater treatment projects, water use efficiency projects, drinking water treatment projects, or for a permit for a new or expanded water supply, shall demonstrate that they meet the water meter requirements in CWC §525 et seq.
  • CWC §10920 Compliance. CWC §10920 et seq. establishes a groundwater monitoring program designed to monitor and report groundwater elevations in all or part of a basin or subbasin. Information on the requirements of the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Program can be found here: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/casgem/. The CASGEM requirement also limits counties’ and various entities’ (CWC §10927.(a)-(d), inclusive) ability to receive State grants or loans in the event that DWR is required to perform groundwater elevation monitoring functions pursuant to CWC §10933.5.