Responses of Southern California’s Urban Water Sector to Changing Stresses and Increased Uncertainty: Innovative Approaches

Authored by: Celeste Cantú

Water Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482227970
eBook ISBN: 9781482227987
Adobe ISBN:


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The Santa Ana River Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) was formed to resolve conflicts over increasing water use and water quality deterioration in a large, rapidly developing and water-stressed Southern California watershed. This chapter chronicles SAWPA’s experience in becoming a pioneer in the development of a collaborative planning process that addresses all aspects of water resources in the watershed. SAWPA spearheaded articulation of a vision for watershed-wide collaboration through the One Water One Watershed (OWOW) process. This deliberative process facilitates the translation of desired outcomes to cooperative actions. The foundation for the process starts with the definition of two types of objectives: problem solving and creating anew, in other words, bringing a desired goal into reality. The OWOW collaborative process is evolving to place greater emphasis on this latter positive perspective. OWOW’s guiding principles, organizational structure, and achievements can provide valuable lessons for communities in other watersheds that are facing challenges from uncoordinated land-use development, growing water demands, water quality degradation, and increasing climatic variability.

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