This paper explores the various dimensions of integration that need consideration in developing appropriate institutional arrangements for integrated water resource management (IWRM), drawing upon both IWRM and spatial planning sources. As a result, a framework of integration in IWRM is set out. This is then used to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the new spatial planning system in England, and its potential to contribute to IWRM activities that are being developed, partly in response to the European Union Water Framework Directive. From this analysis it is argued that, taken overall, spatial planning is well placed to meet these challenges and it could in fact play a much more central role than is currently envisaged. An alternative model for IWRM in England is set out which sees the new river basin management plans as integral, rather than parallel, to the spatial planning system.