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IRWM Background

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The Pajaro River Watershed Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWM) effort is a collaborative effort to identify and implement regional and multi‐beneficial projects for the Pajaro River Watershed. The Pajaro River Watershed IRWM Regional Water Management Group (RWMG) consists of:

  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD)
  • San Benito County Water District (SBCWD)
  • Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PVWMA)

In October 2004, SCVWD, SBCWD, and PVWMA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the purpose of coordinating water resources planning and implementation activities watershed‐wide.

In January 2006, the RWMG was awarded a $500,000 planning grant to study potential solutions to regional water issues impacting the counties within the Pajaro River Watershed. The monies were available through the Proposition 50 water bond approved by California voters in 2002, which is being administered by the State Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board.  

The IRWMP was completed and adopted in May 2007 and is consistent with the Proposition 50 Integrated Regional Water Management Grant Program Guidelines jointly issued by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on November 18, 2004. 

The three agencies that comprise the RWMG led the development of the Pajaro River Watershed IRWMP, and are continuing to lead its implementation, and satisfy the role of the RWMG, as defined by the State. The existing IRWMP is envisioned to be a living document that shall evolve and be updated in the future as projects are implemented and watershed priorities change. The RWMG signed an MOU which memorializes their intent to coordinate and share information concerning water supply planning programs and projects and other information, and to improve and maintain overall communication among the parties involved and stakeholders in the watershed. The RWMG has met and will continue to meet regularly in order to formulate and carry out the mission, goals, objectives and strategies of the IRWM Plan and to solicit and encourage participation from other agencies and stakeholders in the watershed. Each of the RWMG agencies has adopted the IRWMP.

Each of the RWMG members’ water management responsibilities is described below.

Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD)
SCVWD is a special purpose district formed under State Law pursuant to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Act. SCVWD provides wholesale water supply, stream and watershed stewardship, and flood protection for Santa Clara County. In addition, SCVWD manages the County’s groundwater subbasins. The mission of the SCVWD is a healthy, safe, and enhanced quality of living in Santa Clara County through watershed stewardship and comprehensive management of water resources in a practical, cost‐effective, and environmentally‐sensitive manner. SCVWD is a CVP and State Water Project (SWP) contractor and receives water from the San Felipe Division facilities through the Pacheco and Santa Clara Conduits.
San Benito County Water District (SBCWD)
SBCWD is a special purpose district formed under State Law pursuant to the San Benito County Water District Act. As a water conservation and flood control district, the SBCWD mission is to preserve the economic and environmental wealth and well‐being of San Benito County through the control, management and conservation of waters and the provision of water services in a practical, cost‐effective and responsible manner. The SBCWD is a CVP contractor and receives water from the San Felipe Division facilities through the Pacheco and Hollister Conduits.
Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PVWMA)
PVWMA is a state‐chartered special purpose district formed under State Law pursuant to the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Act. PVWMA was formed to efficiently and economically manage existing and supplemental water supplies in order to prevent further increase in, and to accomplish continuing reduction of, long‐term overdraft and to provide and ensure sufficient water supplies for present and anticipated needs within its boundaries. PVWMA has the authority to adopt ordinances for the purpose of conserving local groundwater supplies that all public and private water purveyors within the Agency’s boundaries must adhere to. The PVWMA service area is comprised of portions of three counties, which are Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties.

In their MOU for Coordination of Water Resources Planning, the RWMG identified water conservation, water recycling, desalination, groundwater basin management, water banking, conjunctive use, transfer agreements and storage development as common issues that could be addressed through joint long‐term water supply planning.
The completed IRWMP integrates planning efforts for water supply, flood protection, wastewater treatment, watershed planning, environmental protection and water quality into a single document for our region. Public agencies, cities, counties, nonprofit organizations, and private water companies integrate their planning efforts into a single plan that maximizes efficiencies and takes advantage of the synergies that are available when these entities work together with common goals. IRWMP planning provides several benefits to local agencies and governments including:

  • Fostering regional partnerships,
  • Maximizing local resources,
  • Diversifying regional water options,
  • Providing planning and implementation funding opportunities,
  • Providing the opportunity to achieve regional projects and benefits, and
  • Optimizing the management of water and environmental resources.
  • When major water players all identify common objectives, it provides focus and momentum for regional water projects that otherwise would seen too complex or expensive for any single agency to pursue. 


A letter from the Coordinator of the Greater Monterey County IRWMP:

To Project Proponents and Stakeholders in the Greater Monterey County IRWM Region:

The Regional Water Management Group has just finished reviewing all of the project proposals that were recently submitted for inclusion in the Greater Monterey County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP). The projects were ranked according to a project ranking system that was approved by the Regional Water Management Group in September 2011 (to see the project ranking criteria, go to our website and click on “2011 Final Project Ranking Criteria”). Note that only implementation projects were ranked; concept proposals were not ranked, and are not eligible for IRWM grant funds.

The prioritized list of projects is now available for your review and comment. The public comment period begins today and will end on Friday, January 27, 2012. Please be sure to email your comments to me at srobinsongs@frontier.comby that date. If you would like to see the scoring breakdown for each project, please let me know and I’d be happy to send you the scoring worksheet. 

Note to Project Proponents:  If you submitted a project (either an implementation project or a concept proposal), please take the time to review the project list and become familiar with the other projects. The IRWM Grant Program strongly favors projects that provide multiple benefits and regional benefits. If you see an opportunity to partner with another project proponent, combine project elements, create a larger regional program, or any other way of providing increased benefits or increased integration (for example, combining water quality, flood management, and environmental enhancement elements in one project), please let me know! Stronger projects will make both the projects and our region more competitive for IRWM funding.

So what does the ranking mean? The IRWM Program Guidelines require each Region to prioritize the projects in their Plan. The ranking, therefore, is geared specifically to the State’s IRWM Grant Program, and is meant to highlight projects that will be most competitive for that specific funding source. The list is not meant to imply judgment regarding the merits or value of any particular project; it is simply a means of organizing projects in terms of the objectives of the Prop 84 IRWM Grant Program. Furthermore, it is not necessarily the case that the top-ranked projects will get chosen for submission in any particular IRWM Grant solicitation. Certain criteria and State priorities may make projects listed at the bottom of the list more suitable for submission in an IRWM grant round than projects listed at the top. In other words, any project on this list can potentially get chosen for a grant solicitation. The selection of projects depends not only project ranking, but on several other factors including project readiness, project costs, how well the project complements other projects in an application package, and the project’s suitability to that particular funding source.