Integrated Water Management

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For Surfrider Foundation “Integrated Water Management” means coordinating all aspects of freshwater management to maintain safe and sustainable communities while restoring and protecting our coast and ocean. Communities need to find a way to manage their water needs, so that they can meet demand without harming ecosys­tems, increasing ocean pollution, and wasting energy. The good news is that there are a number of real, relevant and viable solu­tions that can not only solve our fresh water problems, but also improve and restore the health of our coasts. These solutions are all based on a simple and time-proven strategy: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Integrated Water Management is the practice of looking at water management from a holistic perspective. Traditionally, water supply, wastewater, and storm water are all managed by separate agencies or departments. When in reality, all water is WATER. Integrated water management requires inter-agency coordination between the these traditionally separate silos, and the pursuit of multiple benefit solutions such as Ocean Friendly Gardens and Indirect Potable Reuse. When agencies begin to coordinate through Integrated Water Management they can begin to solve multiple problems instead of inadvertently creating a new problem to solve another. For instance, traditional flood control management whisks water off of the land as fast as possible, treating water like a nuisance, which then creates problems for water supply and water quality at the beach.

For Surfrider’s vision for water management check out the short film Cycle of Insanity.



In March 2014 the Oregon Water Resources Department published Place-Based Integrated Water Resources Planning - Initial Observations From the State of Oregon. This document examines regional or local water planning approaches from three western states – California’s Integrated Regional Water Management, Texas’ Regional Water Planning Program, and Washington’s Watershed Planning process. The purpose of this paper is to highlight several key planning elements that could inform Oregon’s approach to place-based, integrated water resources planning. Also see Oregon's earlier Integrated Water Resources Management Strategy (MWH, 2001), Case Studies in Integrated Water Resources Management - From Local Stewardship to National Vision (American Water Resources Association, 2012), and Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future - Understanding Integrated Water Resources Management (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2014).

A useful website to facilitate implementation of Integrated Water Management is the Federal Support Toolbox. This is a comprehensive "one-stop-shop" online water resources data portal with direct links to valuable data, state of the art models and tools for utilization in information sharing and collaboration for the water resources community in the U.S. and internationally.