Groundwater Recharge Application Types

There are different permit applications that are available for groundwater recharge: Standard and Temporary.

Standard rights are appropriate for long-term projects or projects where no urgent need exists. Standard rights can take several years to issue, but they secure a priority date for the diversion. To obtain a standard water right for groundwater recharge, interested parties must complete the standard water rights application including an additional underground storage supplement form.

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies that are implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) may navigate through the standard application processes pursuant to the streamlined processing pathway. This pathway is appropriate for groundwater sustainability agencies, as defined in SGMA, that plan to divert flows above the 90th percentile or flows that threaten flood conditions. For more information on the streamlined processing pathway, visit the Streamlined Processing for Standard Groundwater Recharge Water Rights website.

Temporary permits Temporary permits are not water rights. Temporary permits are a conditional approval to divert and use available water that has not been claimed by a water right holder.  Temporary permits are junior to all water rights and include terms and conditions that prohibit diversions in times of water shortage when the demands of other right holders may not be met.

There are two options for temporary permits for groundwater recharge (180 day permits and 5 year permits). Temporary permits can usually be processed more quickly than standard permits and may be renewed, but are subject to change or revocation at any time.

Assuming there is an urgent need, an application for a temporary permit may be filed simultaneously with an application for a standard right, to cover the period until a standard right is issued. Both types of permits require detailed reporting of the amount of water diverted into underground storage, and the amount extracted for beneficial use.

Table below lists the differences between permit types.

Permit Type Suggested Use Average right processing time Subject to CEQA Right expiration
Standard Long-term projects with no urgent needs Several years (may be shortened for streamlined applications) Yes Never **
Temporary Short-term or infrequent diversion Months Yes * 180 days after issuance

* CEQA may be suspended under Executive Order B-39-17 for certain types of temporary permits.

** Every water right permit specifies a date to complete construction and beneficial use of water. Failure to complete construction and beneficial use of water before this date may result in partial or complete revocation of the permit.


For more information, please contact the designated permitting section staff. For all other water right inquiries, please call (916) 341-5300.