Planning for the future of our water supply has never been more critical. As we continue to face the challenges that lie ahead that contribute to water scarcity, such as climate change and over population, it becomes more and more important to properly manage our water. In the Sierra Nevada it is crucial to create holistic plans which address water quality, water supply, water treatment, and flood control, as over sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates in the Sierra Nevada. In order to address these challenges and create plans that integrate all aspects of water management, the State of California promotes integrated regional water management (IRWM) planning.
IRWM planning fosters collaborative and sustainable water management. It encourages individuals to work across boundaries to identify and prioritize how to address the multiple threats to their region’s water system. A key aspect of IRWM planning is working with multiple stakeholders. Working with a variety of stakeholders will help develop best practices when it comes to ensuring sustainable water uses, protecting the future of agriculture, promoting environmental stewardship, building a strong economy, and more. But each management area creates different obstacles for planning, and including multiple stakeholders is one of them. Too often in the Sierra the interests of disadvantaged and tribal communities are under represented. To support successful IRWM plans, regions must work together to share information and knowledge.
The annual Sierra Water Workgroup Summit was held last week on June 11th, 2013. This summit helps to coordinate local and regional water plans, promotes the exchange of knowledge (including tools for water and watershed management) and advocate for Sierra water issues. Some of the main topics that were addressed at the summit included Sierra agriculture, IRWM integration with forest management plans, climate adaptation, and learning how to better work with tribal engagement and communication. The Sierra Water Workgroup Summit is a great example of how communities and regions can work together and share information on how to sustain their water supply.
How does your community work regionally to support and protect precious water resources? Please share your thoughts.
Credits: Photos by Alex Riemondy. Data linked to sources.