SCCWRP was founded as a Joint Powers Authority in 1969 by Southern California’s five biggest metropolitan wastewater agencies, which pooled their resources to form the independent public agency. SCCWRP’s original, three-year mission was to study the effects of wastewater discharge on Southern California’s coastal marine environment. The founding members quickly realized the value of SCCWRP, and the original JPA has since been extended and amended multiple times. Today, SCCWRP’s 14 member agencies represent the preeminent group of organizations responsible for water-quality management and aquatic ecosystems protection across Southern California.
During the agency’s first two decades, SCCWRP was primarily a marine science organization, governed by the wastewater agencies that founded it. In 1990, the SCCWRP Commission invited the five state and federal regulators that oversee wastewater agencies (i.e., the State Water Board and three of its autonomous Regional Boards, plus EPA Region 9) to become member agencies. In 2003, the number of member agencies was expanded again, this time to include Southern California’s four coastal county stormwater management agencies – a recognition that SCCWRP’s research had grown beyond marine issues to encompass coastal watersheds as well. In 2007, to better emphasize the direct link between water quality and natural resources, SCCWRP welcomed the California Ocean Protection Council to the Commission. Today, SCCWRP’s 14 member agencies represent the preeminent group of organizations responsible for water-quality management and aquatic ecosystem protection across Southern California.
SCCWRP member agencies span both the regulatory and regulated sectors, and work together to set SCCWRP’s comprehensive, independent research agenda. Over the years, SCCWRP also has partnered with hundreds of academic institutions, NGOs, and local, state and federal government agencies to build broad consensus around scientific findings.