What is IRWM?

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a collaborative effort to identify and implement water management solutions on a regional scale that increase regional self-reliance, reduce conflict, and manage water to concurrently achieve social, environmental, and economic objectives. IRWM is the application of principles on a regional scale.

To learn more about IRWM, please view the IRWM-related publications available through our Publications page.

How does IRWM support water management in California?

IRWM enables self-identified regions to integrate and implement water management solutions for their region, which is a foundation of Action 2: "Increase regional self-reliance and integrated water management across all levels of government," in the California Water Plan. For more information about the California Water Action Plan, click on the following link Resources Agency California Water Action Plan . The fundamental principle of IRWM is that regional water managers, who are organized into regional water management groups (RWMGs), are best suited and best positioned to manage water resources to meet regional needs. While large inter-regional water management systems, such as the State Water Project, Central Valley Project, and flood management systems, are important, the majority of California's water resource management investments are made at the local and regional level. IRWM has been critical in helping meet California's water management challenges, including the 2014 drought.

How does DWR support IRWM?

Numerous IRWM planning grants have helped RWMGs develop and adopt IRWM plans for their regions. IRWM implementation grants have helped make more than 800+ IRWM projects identified in IRWM plans a reality across the state. Key technical support to RWMGs is provided by DWR's four Region Offices, located in Glendale, Fresno, West Sacramento, and Red Bluff.


IRWM Regions Map DWR's IRWM story began in 2002 when the Regional Water Management Planning Act (SB 1672) was passed by the Legislature. Since then, various bond acts approved by California voters have provided over $1.5 billion in State funding to support and advance integrated, multi-benefit regional projects. The local match on the State resources has been impressive; often on the order of 4:1. Cities, counties, water districts, community/environmental groups and others across the State have worked collaboratively to organize and establish 48 regional water management groups, covering over 87 percent of the State's area and 99 percent of its population.