The SOC WMA includes the area that encompasses the San Juan Hydrologic Unit (SJHU) in South Orange County as defined in the Water Quality Control Plan of the San Diego Basin.
The SJHU is a collection of coastal watersheds that covers 496 square miles in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties. The SJHU is naturally divided by major water bodies and represents an important water resource in one of the most arid regions of the nation. It is comprised of seven major watersheds: 1) Newport Coast, 2) Laguna Coastal Streams, 3) Aliso Creek, 4) Dana Point Coastal Streams (Salt Creek), 5) San Juan Creek, 6) San Clemente Coastal Streams, and 7) San Mateo Creek, and two groundwater basins: 1) San Juan Groundwater Basin and 2) San Mateo Groundwater Basin.
In 2004, the South Orange County Integrated Regional Water Management Group (Group) was formed by the County, South Orange County cities, water, and special districts located within the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board’s region. This Group was formed for two main purposes: short-term to prepare a South Orange County Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan (IRWMP) and subsequent grant application in 2005 for Prop 50 funds; and long-term to provide an integrated and coordinated local water resources planning function.
Development of Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan (IRWMP)
In June 2005, the SOC IRWMG submitted the South Orange County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan for Proposition 50, Chapter 8 Integrated Regional Water Management Program Implementation Grant funds. In January 2007, the SOC IRWMP was one of seven statewide proposals recommended for funding. As a result, South Orange County will receive $25,000,000 for projects included in the SOC IRWMP. They include:
- Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), Water Use Efficiency Program
- Santa Margarita Water District, Canada Gobernadora Multipurpose Basin
- City of Laguna Beach, Heisler Park Marine Habitat Protection
- City of San Juan Capistrano, Recycled Water Transmission Systems Improvements
- City of San Clemente, Recycled Water Treatment and Distribution
- County of Orange, Aliso Creek Habitat Restoration Project
- El Toro Water District, Recycled Water System Expansion Project
- South Coast Water District (SCWD), Aliso Creek Urban Runoff Recovery, Reuse, and Conservation Project
- South Orange County Wastewater Authority, Coastal Treatment Plant Export Sludge System
In July 2007, the SOC IRWMG executed a Prop 50 Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grant Agreement; with the State Water Resources Control Board to receive grant funds in an amount of $25,000,000.
In September 2009, OC Public Works received notice from DWR that the SOC IRWMG will be recognized as a Region and therefore eligible to compete for Prop 84 funds.
2013 SOC WMA Draft IRWMP
In March 2013, the SOC IRWMG submitted a Proposition 84 Round 2 Implementation Grant to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
A Draft for the 2013 South Orange County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (Plan) and Appendices was prepared by the Group. Public comments were accepted through May 3, 2013. The Plan will be submitted on September 30, 2013 as a part of the Planning Grant.
The following public comments were received:
In addition to the public comments received, the Group provided comments. These comments were compiled into a matrix, and include the following Group participants: City of Aliso Viejo, City of Lake Forest, City of Dana Point, City of Laguna Beach, Irvine Ranch Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, and the County of Orange: OC Flood, and OC Watersheds. You may request a CD copy of comments received by emailing OC Watersheds.
The Group has prepared a Final Draft of the 2013 Plan and Appendices to be reviewed by the South Orange County Watershed Management Area Executive Committee. To view the Groundwater Management Plan, click here. The Executive Committee's review period begins June 17, 2013 and ends on June 28, 2013. The 2013 Plan is scheduled for adoption on July 18, 2013 at the SOCWMA Executive Committee meeting, and is due to DWR on October 1, 2013. The Group received letters of support which will be included with the Plan when it is submitted.
Benefits of supporting the SOC IRWM Plan are 1.) increased efficiency and effectiveness for regional projects, 2.) enhanced collaboration across agencies and stakeholders, 3.) improved responsiveness to regional needs and priorities, and 4.) State statute and guidelines require that before IRWM grant funds will be provided that governing boards of participating agencies must adopt the IRWM Plan.
2013 Final and Approved SOC WMA IRWMP
At its July 18, 2013 meeting the SOC WMA Executive Committee, comprising of an elected official from each of the member organizations, voted to adopt the 2013 IRWM Final Plan. The 2013 IRWM Final Plan developed objectives, strategies, and implementation projects to achieve five goals in an integrated fashion: improving water quality, integrating flood management, increasing water supply and reliability, promoting water use efficiency, and protecting natural resources. Strategies covered topics such as flood management; urban runoff management; watershed management; water use efficiency; water supply and reliability; recycled water; habitat preservation, conservation, and restoration; water quality protection and improvement; and resource stewardship. Adoption of the 2013 IRWM Plan, however, does not commit any WMA member to any of the specific projects but rather establishes a planning framework to look at a range of projects on a watershed level.
As part of the development process of the SOC WMA IRWMP a series of stakeholder meetings were held to engage interested parties. Shown below are the agendas and presentations for meetings held in 2012 and 2013.
Stakeholder Meetings 2013:
- South OC WMA Stakeholder Meeting April 30, 2013
Stakeholder Meetings 2012:
- South OC WMA Stakeholder Meeting July 9, 2012
- South OC WMA Stakeholder Meeting September 19, 2012
- South OC WMA Stakeholder Meeting November 5, 2012