South OC WMA Water Quality Improvement Plan

On June 20, 2018, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) accepted South Orange County Watershed Management Area’s (South OC WMA) proposed Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) for the San Juan Hydrologic Unit (SJHU). The WQIP, which fulfills the requirements of the Fifth Term Permit, includes the following main elements that address each permit provision:

  • B.2 – Priority Water Quality Conditions
  • B.3 – Water Quality Improvement Goals, Strategies, and Schedules
  • B.4 – Water Quality Improvement Monitoring and Assessment Program
  • B.5 – Iterative Approach and Adaptive Management Process

To address these provisions, the WQIP builds upon the findings and recommendations identified in the 2014 Report of Waste Discharge (ROWD) submitted by the Permittees. The figure below depicts the adaptive management process defined in the ROWD, describing five assessment questions and how priorities should shift among elements as information improves.

The ROWD also identified three key themes to help structure the assessment of environmental conditions that have been integral in WQIP development. These themes drive the Permittees’ assessment strategy as well as approach to developing new assessment tools and are shown below:

  • Theme 1: Focus on priority areas and constituents rather than trying to monitor all constituents, potential issues, and locations.
  • Theme 2: Increase the integration of data from a wider range of sources.
  • Theme 3: Continue evolving from a discharge-specific approach to a risk prioritization approach.

Consistent with this approach, the WQIP identifies three Highest Priority Water Quality Conditions (HPWQCs), among other priority water quality conditions (PWQCs):

  • Pathogen Health Risk at Beaches
  • Channel Erosion and Associated Geomorphic Impacts for Inland Waters
  • Unnatural Water Balance/Flow Regime in Inland Waters

Goals, strategies, and schedules to address the HPWQCs and PWQCs are included in the WQIP, along with a Monitoring and Assessment Program.

The South OC WMA WQIP can be viewed at