South OC Watershed Management Area

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.

In 2013 the South OC Watershed Management Area (WMA) Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan (IRWMP) was approved by the South OC WMA Executive Committee. The final approved SOC WMA IRWMP can be found at this link