Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning is a statewide initiative by California’s water and resource agencies to promote an informed, locally-driven, and consensus-based approach to water resources management. This approach, which enables regions to determine their own priorities, advocates regional water self-sufficiency and implementation of a broad portfolio of resource management strategies.

The California Water Plan (2009) identifies the promotion and expansion of IRWM as a primary statewide objective with the goals of “providing long-term, reliable water supplies for all users at the lowest reasonable cost and with highest possible benefits for economic development, environmental quality, and other societal objectives.”

IRWM planning provides a framework for assessing current and future needs and identifying and addressing the array of water-resource challenges on a regional basis. IRWM promotes policies and practices to ensure sustainable water use, reliable water supply, better water quality, environmental stewardship, efficient urban development, protection of agriculture, and a strong economy.


  • A collaborative effort to comprehensively manage all aspects of water resources in a region

  • Crosses jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries; involves multiple stakeholders

  • Attempts to find solutions to water resources problems in ways that realize multiple benefits

  • Serves as a blueprint for planning in the region and links to state-wide water planning efforts

  • Opens the door to funding opportunities