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July 23, 2024 10:26AM
July 23, 2024 10:26AM

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Public Policy

IRWD is a state and federal leader in water resources public policy and governance. We work with our fellow water and wastewater agencies as well as our statewide and national associations to advance innovative and effective public policy in a variety of fields. IRWD works tirelessly to keep your water rates low and stable; to protect the quality and reliability of your water; and to promote policy initiatives that advance new and innovative technologies and programs. The District's engagement on water resource public policy matters is a key component of these efforts.

IRWD Policy Principles

The IRWD Board of Directors has adopted policy principles and positions on a number of policy areas and topics. The policy principles and positions guide the District’s local, state and federal advocacy efforts. To read the adopted policy principles and positions on various topics please click on the links below:

IRWD's primary mission is to provide a safe and reliable water supply to its customers. Supply reliability is directly related to supply diversity. Along with the implementation of numerous water use efficiency programs, IRWD continues to develop and advocate for a diverse mix of local and non-local supplies.


IRWD Policy Principles for Drinking Water Supplies & Reliability:


IRWD is a leader in recycled water development and use. The District currently meets more than a quarter of our total water demands with recycled water. Recycled water is a key component of IRWD's conservation and water use efficiency programs because every gallon of recycled water used results in a gallon of drinking water that can be saved for potable uses, increasing local supply reliability. IRWD supports the expanded use of recycled water because it is an important component of California's sustainable water future and economic strength.


IRWD Policy Principles for Recycled Water:



Examples of IRWD's statewide recycled water efforts include: 


  1. weather iconIndoor Recycled Water Use:   AB 1406 (Huffman), successfully sponsored by IRWD in 2007, changed the California Water Code to allow recycled water to be used for indoor uses such as toilet flushing and cooling towers in multi-level condominium complexes.

  2. Policy icon bar chartWater Softeners:   AB 1366 (Feuer/Caballero/A. Strickland) was successfully sponsored by a coalition of water agencies including IRWD in 2009. The bill provided water agencies in specified areas of the state with a critical tool for managing controllable salts discharged by self-regenerating water softeners.

  3. Policy icon documentCalifornia Plumbing Code:   SB 283 (DeSaulnier), successfully sponsored by IRWD in 2009, paved the way for the adoption of California Plumbing Code provisions setting forth design standards for the safe plumbing of approved buildings with both potable and recycled water systems.

Agencies responsible for managing water resources have an obligation to provide water resources in a safe and efficient manner. Management of any limited resource includes the practice of conservation. Towards that end IRWD has implemented an aggressive water use efficiency and conservation program that rewards customers for conserving, and the District continues to promote new ways to use water efficiently, both locally and statewide.


IRWD Policy Principles for Water Use Efficiency and Conservation:



Examples of IRWD's statewide conservation efforts include:


  1. weather iconWeather-Based Irrigation Technology:    IRWD successfully sponsored AB 566 (2007), authored by Assemblymember George Plescia, to develop and enhance existing technology providing weather based data for optimal watering schedules. This bill helped to expand the use "smart sprinklers" across the state.

  2. conservation iconConservation Rate Structures:    IRWD successfully sponsored AB 2882 (2008), authored by Assemblymember Lois Wolk. AB 2882 laid the groundwork for more agencies to voluntarily implement allocation-based conservation rate structures, like the rate structure used by IRWD. Allocation-based conservation rate structures provide customers with economic incentives for efficient water usage and, in turn, effectively reduce water consumption.

  3. statewide iconStatewide Conservation Policy:    IRWD was instrumental in developing the 2018 “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life” legislation. The strong and fair statewide water use efficiency policy established in AB 1668 (2018) and SB 606 (2018) will move California toward using water more efficiently.

IRWD is committed to protecting water resources and the quality of those resources. At IRWD, everything we do is aimed at providing our customers with the highest-quality water possible. We continuously monitor the quality of our supply, conducting more than a quarter of a million laboratory tests each year on water taken from more than 100 routine sample points. Additionally, we work to keep our watersheds clean and healthy so that they can sustain a variety of habitats and the wildlife.


IRWD Policy Principles for Water Quality:


The Irvine Ranch Water District is dedicated to transparent government and providing our customers with straightforward and timely access to important information. IRWD supports greater government transparency and accountability. IRWD's transparency practices reflect this commitment.


IRWD Policy Principles for Governance, Transparency, & Accountability:


IRWD has a solid financial foundation to ensure its tradition of excellent service and low rates. A key element of this foundation is the District's planning and investment in water infrastructure. These are the assets that enable IRWD to provide, both now and in the future, highly reliable and cost-effective water and sewer service to its customers. Just as IRWD invests in its local water infrastructure, the District believes that local, state and federal governments should invest in state and national water infrastructure and water supply reliability.


IRWD Policy Principles for Finance & Water Infrastructure Funding:



Examples of IRWD's statewide efforts on water infrastructure funding include: 


  1. weather iconSeptic and Sewer Improvement Financing:     AB 741 (Huffman), sponsored by IRWD and signed into law by Governor Brown in 2011, authorized local water and wastewater agencies to develop financing programs to help customers finance the improvements need on their properties to convert from septic systems to a community sewer system or repair and replace damaged sewer laterals. Under this authority, property owners can voluntarily enter into agreements with their local agencies to finance needed sewer improvements, which help protect water quality, public health and safety, and the environment.

  2. Policy icon bar chartBond Financing:    SB 613 (Harman), introduced by IRWD in 2009 and signed into law in 2010, provides IRWD with the authority to use the District's overall strong credit in obtaining general obligation bonds. SB 613 has helped reduce the District's cost of debt by millions of dollars and, in turn, save our customers money without any additional risk to the District or our ratepayers.


Policy Links