The Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (NSVIRWM) is nearing completion. After over three years of work by 6 Northern Sacramento Valley counties, property owners, water professionals and community members the draft plan was adopted by the board at the March meeting. The process, while cumbersome, will result in water management projects receiving their fair share of funding in the Sacramento Valley.
The NSVIRWM is a collaborative effort to enhance coordination of the water resources in the region. IRWM involves multiple agencies, stakeholders, tribes, individuals and groups to address water-related issues and offer solutions which can provide multiple benefits to the region. Representatives of the six counties are working in partnership with community stakeholders, tribes and the public to identify the water-related needs of the region. This information was used to develop goals and objectives of the IRWM Plan, and the identification of projects and programs to be included in the Plan.
As the Department of Water Resources (DWR) drafts the guidelines for the round 3 funding of IRWMP money, the region is on track to have an approved plan to direct funding towards Sacramento Valley supported projects. As many know, the NSV IRWM process had it’s fair share of criticism, and once the draft plan was released in its entirety the representatives from the counties of Colusa and Glenn voiced their concerns with the draft plan to ensure the final version adequately represented our region. In cooperation with Supervisor Leigh McDaniel from Glenn County and Supervisor Gary Evans from Colusa County, Family Water Alliance thoroughly went through the Draft Plan and came up with over 100 comments.
While many felt that the concerns came at the last minute the Draft Plan in its entirety has only been available for a short time. The efforts by Colusa and Glenn counties strived to make the Plan a better finished product. The large majority of the comments were adopted and the more significant structural comments will be addressed at a later time.
The most contentious issues was how the region will address climate change and what impacts it will have on our water resources. While the feeling of the region is definitely mixed about climate change, DWR mandated that IRWM address the concerns. “It’s not that I don’t believe in climatechange, I just the connotation that it’s a bad thing”, said Supervisor Gary Evans, who is well known in the timber and farming industry. It was then the responsibility of the NSVIRWM board to comply with the requirements of DWR while at the same time ensuring our region was accurately represented.
At the March NSVIRWM board meeting the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment concerned many members of the board, including Ashley Indrieri formally of Family Water Alliance, who was appointed as the Colusa County landowner representative. Fortunately, the board was able to adopt that Plan and keep things on schedule, but the Climate Chance Vulnerability Assessment will be reviewed by the appropriate committees and brought back to the board at the April meeting.
Many times during these planning efforts people get planning fatigue and lose sight of the task at hand. The IRWM process made our region communicate about water resource issues that affect our everyday lives. As a region that can have an abundant water supply that is threatened by increasing regulation and countless state and federal planning efforts. The IRWM is clearly a way for us, as a region, to tell our story.
For more information on the Northern Sacramento Valley IRWM please visit nsvwaterplan.org