In 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division released its Civil Works Strategic Plan. This plan was developed with many of our stakeholders to address the uncertainties we face in the future with our water resources. What we found is that to be prepared for the challenges ahead, it will take all of us, looking across all water uses to develop a comprehensive, integrated approach to how we use water. We call this approach Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
What is IWRM?
Water is very dynamic and used in almost everything we do. Unfortunately, most of us don't consider that every drop of water is connected. We do little to manage water quality and quantity in a holistic manner. Integrated Water Resource Management is an approach to understand water systems and drive policies and everyday usage to maximize multiple-use potential and ensure future sustainability.
How will IWRM make things better?
Water is a system with multiple inputs and outputs. Recognizing the interconnected nature of water allows us to extend the resource. Integrated Water Resource Management brings different organizations with different water uses together to see how they can collaborate and maximize water use. In its simplest form, Integrated Water Resource Management looks at all water needs and finds a way to meet those needs using the least amount of water. We see this with cities that regulate and establish natural buffers around waterways to help reduce flooding, improve water quality, and improve aquatic habitat. We se it in developments that use water-catch systems so rainwater can be used to water the grass and landscaping.
How can IWRM become a reality?
We need everyone to think about their water needs and usage as a connected system. When we look at water as a system, we can begin to look at how the system can meet multiple needs at once. In addition, water resource agencies as well as local and state governments can share data, information, and planning documents with one another to assess potential mutual benefits of water management. When we recognize water is constantly being used and reused as it moves through its system, we can develop plans that makes its multiple purposes most effective.
How can you become involved?
We want to work with you in solving complex water resource issues. Reach out to us today! Let us know what your agency, city, state, group, or community can do it help.