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What We Do and How We are Doing
The State and Regional Water Boards are California's regulatory agencies responsible for ensuring that the quality of the State's rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, ocean, and groundwaters is protected. To protect our water resources, the Water Boards set water quality standards in plans and policies, monitor and assess the State's waters, regulate identified pollutant sources, and enforce compliance with regulatory requirements. The State Water Board is solely responsible for providing funding for others' water quality protection activities, allocating surface water rights, and reviewing petitions that contest Regional Water Board actions.State Water Board
The State Water Board, located in Sacramento, is solely responsible for ensuring that State surface water supplies are properly allocated and efficiently used through the administration of a water rights system. To help individuals and businesses meet the costs of water pollution control and cleanup, the State Water Board also provides financial assistance in the form of various State and federal loan and grant programs. In addition, the State Water Board reviews petitions that contest Regional Water Board actions.
While some of these Water Board activities are more well-known than others, all are essential to providing California individuals, families, farmers, cities, industries, and the environment with water needed to keep our State healthy and productive.
Regional Water Boards
While the State Water Board develops statewide policy and regulations for water quality control, the nine Regional Water Boards provide local implementation of statewide policy and regulations, set water quality standards and implementation provisions in plans and policies, issue waste discharge permits, determine compliance with permit requirements, and take enforcement actions against violators.
The Regional Water Boards’ boundaries are based on watersheds so that their water quality decisions and actions appropriately recognize local differences in climate, topography, geology, and hydrology.
Collectively, the Water Boards are responsible for protecting and restoring water quality in all surface waters (streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands) and ground waters (aquifers, drinking water wells) of the State. Water Board scientists, engineers, analysts, and support personnel collaborate with local, State, and federal agencies, communities, and organizations to ensure that water issues are addressed.
The Water Boards perform work that addresses specific questions regarding the protection of the State’s waters.
The State and Regional Water Boards…
… Plan and Assess
The State Water Board alone…
… Funds Planning and Projects (water quality improvement projects)
How does financial assistance protect water quality?
… Allocates Water
How do we allocate water for use?