NEWS WORTH NOTING: In-Delta water users post outstanding compliance record for calendar 2018 water use reports; State Water Board revokes water right license for failure to report annual diversions; State Water Contractors release State Water Project fact sheet

In-Delta Water Users Post Outstanding Compliance Record for Calendar 2018 Water Use Reports

From the Office of the Delta Watermaster:

The Office of the Delta Watermaster has previously noted that all Licensees with authorized points of diversion within the Legal Delta had filed annual Reports of Licensees for water diverted during calendar 2018, as required.

Senior water right claimants (those claiming riparian and/or Pre-1914 water rights) were required to file their annual Supplemental Statements of Water Diversion and Use during calendar 2018 not later than July 2, 2019.  As of today, 2,312 Supplemental Statements have been filed by senior water right claimants with points of diversion within the Legal Delta.  Only 15 remain delinquent, and each of those claimants has provided our Office with both an explanation for the tardiness and an acceptable timetable for full compliance.  Often the delays in reporting are the result of changes of ownership, tenants or cropping patterns during the reporting period.

The Delta water users’ ability to comply with the annual reporting requirement is the result of improved two-way communication between diverters and the Office of the Delta Watermaster as well as extensive outreach, and education by the North, Central and South Delta Water Agencies and the Delta water bar with their constituents and clients.

As a result of this outstanding record of compliance, the Office of the Delta Watermaster does not expect to issue any failure-to-file complaints for 2018 water use reporting.  This is the first year that complaints have not been required to induce full compliance with the annual reporting requirement.  In prior years, a few recalcitrant diverters came into reporting compliance only following formal enforcement action, often including fines or other penalties up to and including revocation of the licensed right to divert and use water.  Thus, compliance for calendar year 2018 has conserved administrative resources for our Office as well as for the diverters and the Water Agencies.

For detailed information regarding annual water use reporting in the Delta, contact Kristi Matal, Communication and Outreach Specialist, in the Office of the Delta Watermaster by phone at: (916) 319-8264 or by email at: Kristi.Matal@waterboards.ca.gov.

State Water Board Revokes Water Right License for Failure to Report Annual Diversions

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

The State Water Resources Control Board, acting through the Delta Watermaster, recently revoked a water right license of a Delta landowner for repeated failure to file annual diversion and use reports in violation of the terms and conditions of the license.

Following a 2017 investigation, the Delta Watermaster issued an administrative civil liability complaint alleging that Lamb Gianelli Family Limited Partnership had failed to file required reports of annual diversion and use of water by the applicable deadline.  The Delta Watermaster and Lamb Gianelli reached a settlement agreement without the need for a hearing before the State Water Board.

“Lamb Gianelli repeatedly failed to file timely reports of annual water use despite our frequent reminders, offers of assistance and enforcement actions to induce compliance,” said Delta Watermaster Michael George.  “That failure to comply with the terms of the license resulted in this revocation action.”

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, which was confirmed by a State Water Board Settlement Decision Order WR 2019-0033-DWM, Lamb Gianelli has paid a $20,000 penalty and did not contest the revocation of the portion of the water right license it owned. The license, with a priority date of 1926 (when the license was requested), had been issued in 1943 following confirmation of water availability and subsequent construction and inspection of diversion facilities.  The portion of the license benefitting the Lamb Gianelli property has now been revoked via Order Partially Revoking Water Right WR 2019-0034-DWMView this map of the area in which the license has been revoked.

All surface water diverters are required by the terms of their water right license, State Water Board regulations (23 CCR §920), and/or the Water Code (§5101) to report their water diversion and use annually. For more information regarding the State Water Board’s annual diversion and use reporting procedures, visit the Annual Water Use Reporting Requirements for Water Right Holders webpage.

The Office of the Delta Watermaster was created by the Delta Reform Act of 2009 with statutory and delegated authority to administer water rights in the Delta, including the enforcement of complex conditions for diversion and use of water.  The Delta Watermaster is appointed for a four-year term by the State Water Board with the approval of the Delta Stewardship Council.  The position reports jointly to the Board and the Council.

State Water Contractors Release Fact Sheet Highlighting the State Water Project Throughout California

From the State Water Contractors:

The State Water Contractors (SWC) today released a fact sheet on the State Water Project (SWP) operations across California. From the Bay Area to San Diego, the SWP provides two-thirds of the state with affordable, fresh water. The SWP is California’s most critical water infrastructure and is an irreplaceable source of water supply that must be maintained for future generations.

Learn more about how the State Water Project supports California and read our fact sheet by clicking here.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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