Integrated water resource management (IWRM) has become a focal point of discussion about water management. While there are differences in viewpoint regarding IWRM’s use and effectiveness, two key elements that are discussed in relation to the concept of IWRM are 1) developing more holistic perspectives, and 2) engaging stakeholders in water management processes. We investigate the relationship between these two key elements of IWRM and water management practices associated with Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLS) in the United States (US). Drawing data from all 63 TMDL reports approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) between 1998 and 2006 for the states of Ohio and West Virginia, we assess whether these key elements of IWRM are incorporated into TMDL practices. We also conduct preliminary tests to assess the relationship between these key elements of IWRM and watershed restoration progress as perceived by state environmental officials. The data we collect suggest that Ohio and West Virginia are creating holistic information on watershed management as they develop TMDL reports and that they are engaging stakeholders in TMDL processes in a number of cases. We also find positive associations between the incorporation of key elements of IWRM and perceived progress in watershed restoration. The data we present also suggest that steps are being taken to implement TMDLs in Ohio and West Virginia, but they indicate that the progress being achieved is modest compared to the ambitious goals of the American Clean Water Act. Our data and analyses are limited in several key respects. However, they do suggest that broad-based watershed planning and stakeholder engagement— practices consistent with IWRM—may contribute positively to TMDL implementation and watershed restoration progress. They also suggest that TMDL processes could play a positive role in supporting more aggressive IWRM efforts in the future. Keywords: water pollution, water policy, Clean Water Act (CWA), Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), holistic water management, stakeholder engagement, collaborative watershed management.

doi.org/10.7564/13-IJWG13
International Journal of Water Governance

Hoornbeek, J, & Hansen, E. (2013). Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the United States: An Inquiry into the Role of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). International Journal of Water Governance, 2013, 339–360. doi:10.7564/13-IJWG13