Regional Water Management Foundation

In Santa Cruz County the water flowing from your tap didn’t travel far. We don’t import water. We rely on a few local sources. We believe working together can help our communities to become more resilient and sustainable.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin

Funding Local Projects

A Cooperative Approach to Local Water Management

The Regional Water Management Foundation (RWMF) was established by the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County in 2007. In cooperation with local agencies, the RWMF supports planning and obtains funding for water resource projects in Santa Cruz County. To date, over $19 million in state grants have been awarded through the RWMF.

What We Do

Grant Administration and Support

We promote local coordination and collaboration on water resources management. We support the Santa Cruz Integrated Regional Management Program, which promotes regional self-sufficiency and planning for water supply, water quality, watershed stewardship, stormwater, and flood management. Other local agency partners include: Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency.

Regional Water Management Foundation Staff

Tim Carson

Program Director

Natalie LaVan

Senior Program Manager

Rob Swartz

Senior Planner

Laura Partch

Administrative Officer

Board of Directors

John Ricker

Board President

Appointee, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Lisa Lurie


Executive Director, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

Piret Harmon

Board Member

General Manager, Scotts Valley Water District

Sierra Ryan

Board Member

Water Resources Manager, Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Services

Kirk Schmidt

Board Member

Trustee, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

James Thompson

Board Member

Honorary Trustee, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Sabine Dukes


Chief Financial and Operations Officer, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Kevin Heuer

Board Member

Director Engagement & Impact, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County


The RWMF at Work

We support the planning and implementation of high priority projects in Santa Cruz County. Work is done under grants awarded by the state’s Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Grant Program. Local planning and implementation projects are done through the Santa Cruz Integrated Water Management Program (SCIWMP).

Learn about the IRWM »

Learn about the SCIWMP »

Groundwater Sustainability Planning

Planning for Sustainable Groundwater Management

In 2014, California passed the state’s first comprehensive groundwater management law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. This Act provides a framework for the management of groundwater supplies by local authorities. RWMF staff are supporting the development of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan in the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin. The Plan will be completed in 2020. RWMF staff are also providing administrative support on a grant funding the development of Groundwater Sustainability Plan in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin.

Grant for Disadvantaged Communities

Addressing Water-Related Needs

In 2018, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded $4.3 million in Proposition 1 grant funds to the Regional Water Management Foundation for the Central Coast Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program. Funds will support an assessment of water-related needs in economically disadvantaged communities along the Central Coast from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.

A final report, to be submitted to the DWR in 2021, will inform regional and statewide planning and project implementation efforts to better address the water-related needs of disadvantaged communities.

Want to Know More?

Contact us for details.

Tim Carson, RWMF Program Director, will gladly entertain any questions you might have about the Regional Water Management Foundation or current and upcoming projects.