As a City Manager, General Manager, Tribal Representative, Non-Profit Manager, etc. you are responsible to the constituents you serve. The catch is that as a leader you can no longer go it alone because there are immediate and long term challenges that affect your region and watershed. These challenges will ultimately affect the constituents you serve.
The One Water One Watershed 2.0 Plan lays out these challenges as the “Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” The Plan takes this region, the Santa Ana River Watershed, forward using a “watershed-wide or hydrologic systems approach.”
SAWPA is working with watershed stakeholders to engender projects and programs that achieve system-wide solutions and multi-benefits.
This effort is known as Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM). IRWM planning and implementation is done state-wide, but in this watershed it is referred to as the One Water One Watershed (OWOW) Program. Grant funding from the Proposition 84, Chapter 2 (provided by state general obligation bonds) are available to agencies, tribes and organizations within this watershed for IRWM programs and projects. Eligible programs and projects must be system-wide and yield multiple benefits, and meet the prerequisites of the state. The Proposition 84 IRWM guidelines from the state describe the requirements of IRWM planning and what IRWM implementation grant funds are intended for.
The remaining IRWM implementation grant funding, $63.8 Million under Proposition 84, Chapter 2, will be made available under the OWOW 2015 Solicitation for this watershed.
OWOW 2015 SOLICITATION: HOW TO DEVELOP AN ELIGIBLE PROGRAM OR PROJECT
In 2014, the SAWPA Commission and OWOW Steering Committee established the requirement that projects and programs solicited under the OWOW 2015 Solicitation must be integrated, regional, system based and multi-benefit. Your project will be eligible if it benefits the environment and/or people living across the watershed (i.e. system-based).
WHAT IS A “SYSTEM BASED” PROGRAM OR PROJECT
Developing system based programs or projects means that as the potential applicant, you are following the natural hydrology and pre-existing infrastructure to identify where the water flows, how it is put in the river system (such as stormwater capture), who takes it out and where they return it after treatment, and how it is used both upstream and downstream by people and the environment. And then to develop solutions driven by the natural hydrology, not political or jurisdiction boundaries. Through workshops focused on the OWOW 2015 Solicitation held at SAWPA, speakers will describe several system-wide projects such as the Inland Empire Brine Line, Bay Delta System, the Santa Ana River Mainstem Flood Control Project and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Forum.
The Santa Ana River Watershed is fortunate that a lot of our natural hydrology is intact, but it is important to consider taking steps where possible to preserve that natural hydrology, that is, the natural movement, distribution and properties of water as it passes through the watershed, because it does the work for us economically and efficiently.
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE OWOW 2015 SOLICITATION
Like the Round 1 and Round 2 OWOW process, there will be a “Call for Projects” in spring of 2015. SAWPA encourages you to get started now, as project proposals that involve multiple partners take extra effort compared to projects designed and proposed by a single entity.
The schedule above, approved by the OWOW Governing Bodies in 2014, allows for a workshops to be held at SAWPA to help stakeholders develop eligible projects. SAWPA staff and the newly appointed Pillars, a workgroup of experts and water leaders organized generally based on water resource management strategies, will lead these OWOW Integration and Pillar Workshops. The first one will be held on January 22 at 9 a.m. at SAWPA. We encourage you to attend.
HOW PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS GET JUDGED
Once the Call for Projects is closed, a Project Review Committee, made up of unbiased water resource experts would need to be convened and appointed by the OWOW Steering Committee and SAWPA Commission. Much like Round 1 and Round 2, they would review the projects and make funding recommendations to both governing bodies. These final programs and projects are then submitted to the state (the Department of Water Resources) in an OWOW Application by fall of 2015 to ensure that the proposals meet state guidelines.