Project Clean Water was initiated in July 2000 to provide a broad and inclusive forum for exploring water quality issues of regional significance. Much of the focus during our first two years was on establishing a visible forum to discuss issues of shared concern, to find consensus solutions to priority problems, and to characterize baseline conditions in the region’s watersheds. This work was primarily carried out by Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) and numerous, ad hoc technical workgroups. Annual Clean Water Summits, a focal point of stakeholder participation, have provided an important opportunity to explore the issue of the day and validate and fine-tune the priorities and directions of Project Clean Water working bodies.
In response to input provided by participants, organizational changes were put into place in 2004 to streamline the overall Project Clean Water process and to focus more closely on the issues of greatest interest to stakeholders. Through discussion that occurred at the Watershed Protection TAC, the County of San Diego, the San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego Water Department agreed to form a Regional Water Management Group (RWMG) which was needed to fund and develop an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan for the San Diego Region. The Watershed Protection TAC became the first stakeholder group supporting the development of this Plan.
Today, Project Clean Water serves as a resource both to government agencies and to the general public. In 2013, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) issued an updated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm and Sewer System (MS4) Permit Order No. R9-2013-0001 (as amended by Order Nos. R9-2015-0001 and R9-2015-0100), which requires those agencies operating under the permit to create and maintain a Regional Clearinghouse that provides the public with information regarding area water quality and efforts to protect it. This information was made accessible via Project Clean Water, which allows for additional cooperation and coordination between Copermittees to supplement and enhance water quality outcomes.