Behrooz Mortazavi

Behrooz Mortazavi, Ph.D., P.E. (Southern California)

Principal, Water Resources Engineers Inc.

Role of Groundwater in Integrated Water Resources Management


Many water agencies and water resources authorities in California and around the world are interested in increasing their supply reliability during critically dry conditions. These entities continuously try to expand use of local resources in an effort to improve water supply reliability in their region. Use of potable groundwater, desalinated groundwater, and storage of surface water or recycled water in the local aquifers are some of the elements that can enhance water supply reliability.

Implementation of these elements requires existence of water rights, and existence of a viable water resources management plan. In addition, water quality variations and geo-political dynamics play an important role in the structure of these management plans.

This talk reviews political, environmental, and technical challenges for implementing an integrated resources plan. EMWD’s local resource planning will be used as a case study to demonstrate how EMWD used its available groundwater resources to implement a successful integrated resources plan in Southern California.


For over two decades Behrooz Mortazavi was in charge of developing and implementing water resources management plans at Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD), located 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles. During his tenure, EMWD secured its groundwater water rights after an Indian Water Rights Settlement, which was enacted by Congress; initiated an Integrated Resources Plan; designed and implemented an integrated recharge and recovery program to mitigate groundwater overdraft; and maximized the use of recycled water to meet agricultural, environmental habitat, and municipal irrigation demands in its jurisdiction.