Senate Bill 88 and the Development of a Water Measurement and Reporting Regulation

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsThe purpose of this message is to provide information about a new water measurement law which will affect water right holders and diverters who divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year. The law includes a new reporting requirement that all diverters submit their monthly diversion records each year. During drier than normal periods, all diverters may also be required to submit their diversion records on a monthly basis.

The new requirements go into effect on January 1, 2016, and are found in Senate Bill 88, Chapter 27, which was signed by the Governor in June. Use this link to view the law:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/sen/sb_0051-0100/sb_88_bill_20150624_chaptered.pdf

The State Water Board is authorized to adopt an emergency regulation to implement these new requirements. You can participate in the development of the regulation by emailing your comments to dwr-measurement@waterboards.ca.gov, or attending one of the public outreach and information meetings (see list below).

The Current Problem:

The extended drought has highlighted the need for current, accurate information on how much water is required to serve right holders in the various watersheds throughout the State. Even during years with more normal precipitation, rainfall and snow accumulation patterns vary widely across the State. Water supply may be adequate in one region while a critical water shortage can occur in another region.

Accurate data on water diversion and use is needed on a timely basis in order to evaluate water supply conditions in each watershed, how far water supplies can be expected to stretch, and whether there is water available for diversions. Unfortunately, the historic reporting standard does not meet current needs. The new law and proposed implementing regulation are expected to address this problem.

Benefits of Measurement and Reporting:

The State Water Board is the agency with primary responsibility for the administration and regulation of water rights in California. The State Water Board allocates surface water through a system of permits, licenses, and registrations. These allow the right holder to divert water for reasonable beneficial use. The State Water Board also maintains records of water use under riparian and pre-1914 claims of right.

Improved measurement and reporting of water rights as required by Senate Bill 88 will allow the State Water Board and all water users to more effectively:

  • Increase understanding of water use through more accurate measurement;
  • Improve water rights administration and transparency of records;
  • Provide more accurate data on available water supplies;
  • Improve forecasting of water demand;
  • Assure compliance with the quantity and season limitations of existing water rights;
  • Protect senior rights in accordance with priorities; and
  • Provide efficient management and use of water during times of shortage.

Information Meetings for the Emergency Regulation*:

The following meetings are scheduled to take public comments on the new measurement and reporting requirements. The comments will be used to help formulate the regulation.

 

DATE TIME LOCATION
November 2, 2015 (Monday) 6:00 – 9:00 pm Junipero Serra State Office Building, Carmel Room

320 West 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

November 4, 2015 (Wednesday) 6:00 – 9:00 pm The City of Redding

777 Cypress Avenue, Redding, CA 96001

November 5, 2015 (Thursday) 6:00 – 9:00 pm State Office Building, Auditorium

31 East Channel Street, Stockton 95202

November 9, 2015 (Monday) 1:00 – 4:00 pm CalEPA Headquarters Building, Coastal Hearing Room

1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95812

A webcast of the meeting on November 9 in Sacramento will be available at http://www.calepa.ca.gov/broadcast/
November 12, 2015 (Thursday) 6:00 – 9:00 pm Steele Lane Community Center

415 Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

*A quorum of the State Water Board may be present at the meetings. However, no State Water Board action will be taken. If you require an interpreter, please contact the State Water Board five days in advance of the meeting.

 

Additional Information on the Emergency Regulation and Information Meetings:

Information and updates on the emergency regulation and the public meetings will be posted at:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/measurement_regulation

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