Local governments, agencies, organizations in Santa Cruz County share a history of long-range planning efforts at the scale of individual groundwater basins, watersheds, and jurisdictions. In 1998, a variety of entities came together to support coordinated programs for water resources and watershed management. Between 2002 and 2004, local agencies and special districts began integrated planning efforts, including coordination of water bond funding. In 2005, local agencies collaborated on the development initial Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) to address the region's water supply, water quality, and resource stewardship needs. In 2006, the Partner agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement and most formerly adopted the IRWMP. Development of the IRWM Plan helped secure a competitive $12.5 million grant awarded in 2007 by the SWRCB for the implementation of high-priority water resource projects between 2008 – 2012.
In 2009, work began to update the Santa Cruz IRWM Plan to ensure that the Plan remains current in addressing the range of water resources challenges in the region. Among other topics, the 2009-2010 Update will expand on the existing Plan to address planning elements and requirements instituted by the Department of Water Resources since 2005. The Plan will also expand and improve the process to identify and evaluate high-priority projects to ensure an inclusive, transparent, analytical decision-making process. Outreach efforts during the 2009-10 Update will ensure that interested entities have the opportunity for comment and participation in the IRWM development and implementation.