California agency allocates $143.7M to bolster water security in the face of climate change

California groundwater recharge project
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May 18, 2023 – The California Department of Water ResourcesOpens in a new tab. (DWR) is taking decisive action to enhance local resilience to climate change impacts.

DWR has announced that $143.7 million has been dedicated to 115 projects aimed at fortifying water management measures. These initiatives, part of the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program, will enhance groundwater recharge, amplify flood management, promote water conservation, and improve water quality.

A Changing Climate.

Karla Nemeth, DWR Director, recognizes the unique challenges imposed by California’s evolving climate. “California’s changing climate presents unique challenges to our regions across the state,” said NemethOpens in a new tab.. “These projects meet multiple needs including constructing new water infrastructure, improving water quality, protecting wildlife and preparing for a hotter and drier future. Equally important, they leverage local, federal and other state dollars to help ensure water security for all Californians is affordable.”

Project Highlights Include Tribes and Underserved Communities.

The sum includes $59 million dedicated to projects in underserved communities and $4 million for Tribes, with the funds distributed across multiple regions. Here are some key project highlights:

  • In Central Coast, over $900,000 will go to floodplain restoration and aquifer recharge projects.
  • In the Colorado River area, $964,324 has been allotted to improve water supply reliability in the Twin Pines community.
  • The Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District in Lahontan will utilize $808,581 to rehabilitate a dam, thereby reducing flood risk.
  • In Los Angeles, $3.4 million will extend the recycled water system in the City of Bell Gardens and Downey.
  • In the San Diego region, the South Orange County Watershed Management Area received $1.2 million for stormwater capture and dry-weather runoff control.
  • Santa Ana received $315,000 to eliminate lead service lines and fittings, improving water safety.
  • The Association of Bay Area Governments in San Francisco Bay Area will use $1.5 million for multi-benefit projects in underserved school sites in Petaluma.
  • The Sierra Resources Conservation District in Mountain Counties will utilize $500,000 to restore fire-impacted watersheds.
  • The Karuk Tribe in the North Coast area received $1.2 million for habitat creation and stream improvement.
  • Trout Unlimited – South Coast 923 in the Sacramento River region received $455,750 to increase water storage and late-season water releases.

2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the IRWM program, established by Assembly Bill 1672. It encourages broad-based participation and fosters information exchange about watershed health. Over the past three years, DWR granted $268 million to communities, including $53 million for projects that directly benefit disadvantaged communities.

Go Golden.

Nemeth highlighted the success of the IRWM program over two decades in nurturing collaborative partnerships to address local water issues. This funding is part of the state’s emerging “Go Golden” initiative, which aims to support large organizations and water agencies in undertaking projects that address water infrastructure repairs, water conservation, well rehabilitation, and fish and wildlife protection, as California prepares for a future shaped by climate change. Stay informed about the latest “Go Golden” news via DWR’s email subscription list.

For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, visit DWR’s Grants and Loans webpageOpens in a new tab..


A view from a drone of a groundwater recharge projectOpens in a new tab. at Ball Ranch near San Joaquin River in Madera County, California, via the California Department of Water Resources.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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