Water Rights Ownership and Contact Information Updates
Water Right holders are responsible for promptly notifying the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) of changes to ownership, agent, or contact information related to their water rights. This page provides information about how the Division of Water Rights processes ownership changes and contact information updates and what water right holders can expect during the process.
Submitting a Change Request
When to Submit a Request for Update of Ownership or Contact Information
Water Right holders should notify the State Water Board when a property with a water right is transferred or sold to a new owner (Title 23, Section 831, CCR).
If you own a water right that is subject to an Annual Water Rights Fee (appropriative or registration), you should notify the State Water Board of changes in ownership at least 10 days prior to the annual billing (Title 23, Section 1074(c), CCR). Water Right owners are responsible for the annual fee until notice is provided to the State Water Board. The annual billing occurs on November 15 of each year or the next business day when November 15 falls on a weekend.
How to Submit a Request for Update of Ownership or Contact Information
The best way to submit a Request for Update of Ownership or Contact Information is to use the Water Rights Online Forms Portal. The portal allows users to self-register for an account where users can log in to:
- Submit a form or multiple forms electronically
- Save progress on forms
- Return later to check the status of submitted forms
While the Division of Water Rights encourages use of the portal, you can find paper forms on our Water Rights Forms page. Please note that processing of paper forms may be delayed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Designation of Mail Receiver or Notification of Address Change
One party must be designated to act as the mail receiver to represent all parties of the water right. Once a mail receiver is established, notice to the primary owner or agent is considered notice to all owners, co-owners, and the agent. When a mail receiver is not identified, the Division of Water Rights identifies the primary owner based on the majority ownership of the place of use and/or ownership of the point of diversion. All parties, however, have an opportunity to mutually designate another representative when submitting a request for Update of Ownership or Contact Information.
Revoking Your Water Right
If you no longer need or use a water right that you own, you may request revocation of your water right. Visit the Water Rights Revocation Information page for additional information.
Change Request Process
The State Water Board’s processing of a change in ownership is an administrative procedure and does not constitute a technical review of the diversion or beneficial use(s) of water under the right. If you need assistance in determining your ownership rights on a property, we recommend that you contact a water rights consultant or attorney.
What happens once I submit my change request?
If you use the Water Rights Online Forms Portal, you will be able to log in to check back on the status of your submitted change request forms. Change requests are generally processed in the order received. If you submitted a paper change request form and it has been longer than eight weeks since your request was submitted, send an email to email@example.com for a status update.
How will I be notified that my change request has been completed?
The Division of Water Rights in-office staffing has been impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, which has led to significant delays in providing water rights holders with confirmation when their ownership of a water right has updated. There are multiple ways to check the status of an ownership change:
- Electronic confirmation of ownership changes are available by request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Email is typically the fastest method of obtaining this information
- The eWRIMS database contains public information about Water Rights including current and historical ownership information
- Call the Division of Water Rights at 916-341-5431 to check the status of an ownership change.
Water Right Ownership Rights and Responsibilities
Water Rights holders are responsible for knowing the terms and conditions of their water right. A copy of your license, permit, registration or certificate can be obtained online though the electronic water rights information management system (eWRIMS) database. If you have a Statement of Water Diversion and Use or a Groundwater Recordation on file, review the respective program pages for more information.
Annual Water Diversion and Use Reporting
All water right holders are required to electronically submit an Annual Report of Water Diversion and Use. Reports must be completed online through the Report Management System (RMS); paper reports are not available. Reports for the previous calendar year (January 1 – December 31) are due the following year no later than April 1 for Permits, Licenses, Registrations, and Stockpond Certificates and July 1 for Statements of Water Diversion and Use and Groundwater Recordation.
Annual Water Right Fees
If you are the owner of an appropriative water right or registration, your water right is subject to an annual fee which is assessed each year on November 15. For more information about Water Right Fees, including stakeholder meeting dates and fee schedules, see the Water Rights Fee page for more information.