Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Global Site for IWRM: Integrated Water Resources Management

The Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) of the Coachella Valley was a complicated process. A single water user would have a hard time jumping in and making sense of it all. There are resources for Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) to use, but most people would require advocates or a third party to interpret all of the "IRWMPese".  How can this process be simplified to truly advocate with the DACs?

The IRWMP process offered me a glimpse of the vast landscape we created for our unique drinking water delivery system and wastewater management system in California. The website for the Coachella Valley IRWMP says it all. There are a huge amount of drafts, presentations, participant lists, budgets and maps. Keep in mind that this is for only the Coachella Valley region ( about 5 water districts).

My experience with the IRWMP was summarized in a  report on their website:  That report is referred to as an appendix and is on page 127 of that appendix PDF.  Our report and work contributed to more of the reports in the DAC section. Our work with the "Non-Profits" El Sol and Pueblo Unido is described in that DAC section. Those non-profits are the key to any single water user's understanding of the process and should be the first resource.

The California IRWMP process is large and  unnecessarily complicated for the smallest of communities. California isn't alone in the IRWMP tedium. It's a public process that has evolved over time and is internationally known. The World Bank and WHO have sites on it and there is now a global movement to better understand and advocate for the disadvantaged.  The Global Water Partnership has a great optimistic definition of the process:

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.

What we experienced in the Coachella Valley is no different from what goes on internationally. The GWP is a good resource to gain external perspective on our own internal processes. They have a road map of sorts and help us understand this necessary .....process.

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