California is moving toward a more holistic approach to managing our water and land resources as the 21st century unfolds. This perspective recognizes the interconnectivity between two traditionally fragmented sectors.
In 2005, the California Legislature passed new laws that enable communities to join together to adopt Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) policies and practices. This comprehensive planning approach considers water and related land resources as an interconnected regional system rather than as a combination of fragmented parts.
Local jurisdictions across the state convene as Regional Water Management Groups to implement their plans. Anticipated and realized benefits of IRWM include improved cost-effectiveness and outcomes for planning and management of water quality and supply, as well as better distribution of water between ecosystem and human use.
While water management and land-use planning remain highly fragmented across the nation, many states are moving toward this more integrated approach, especially when setting new state-level policies, regulations, and guidance.