Water Rights: Statement of Water Diversion and Use Program
It is recommended that you read this entire page to be aware of your responsibilities under California law to report your water diversions. Failure to file a statement may subject you to civil liabilities that carry a maximum fine of $1,000 plus $500 for each day the violation continues after 30 days of the State Water Board notifying you of the violation.
California Water Code §5101 requires each person or organization that uses diverted surface water or pumped groundwater from a known subterranean stream after December 31, 1965 to file with the State Water Board a Statement of Water Diversion and Use prior to July 1 of the following year.
There are four exemptions to:
- Diversions from a spring that does not flow off the property on which it is located and from which the person’s combined diversions do not exceed 25 acre-feet in any year.
- Diversions covered by a registration for small domestic or livestock stockpond uses, a stockpond certificate, or a permit or license to appropriate water on file with the board.
- Diversions covered by a Notice of Groundwater Extraction and Diversion (Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernadino, and Ventura counties only).
- Diversions which are regulated by a watermaster appointed by the Department of Water Resources or a court where the watermaster files reports detailing the persons who have diverted and describe the general place of use and the quantity of water that has been diverted from each source.
An initial Statement should be completed for each point of diversion and should identify the amount of water used during the first calendar year. The Statement must be filed with the Division before July 1 of the following year.
The main purpose of the Statement Program is to create a central repository for records of diversions and uses of water. This repository differs from the records of appropriated water rights that are registered, permitted and licensed. A Statement is not a confirmed water right; it is simply a statement made by the person or organization who diverted and used the water. Divisions of Water Rights staff do not analyze the contents of a Statement, or research the legal water right status of the diverter at the time of receipt.
If an Initial Statement is deemed complete and all required information has been supplied, as outlined in California Water Code §5103, then staff will enter the Initial statement into our database (eWRIMS) and a Statement number will be assigned (i.e. S012345). We will also mail out an accepted letter after the Initial Statement has been entered that will provide the Statement number, reporting identifier for annual reporting and other pertinent information as it relates to the Initial Statement.
If an Initial Statement is deemed incomplete at the time staff is reviewing it they will attempt to reach out/follow up with the diverter and/or responsible party to notify them of the delinquencies and attempt to collect required information as directed by California Water Code §5103. If staff is unsuccessful in trying to collect incomplete information they will move forward with entering the Initial Statement into our database (eWRIMS) as incomplete. Incomplete statements will be assigned a Statement number and reporting identifier as well as receive an accepted letter, like that of a complete Statement, but will be subject to enforcement action due to noncompliance of California Water Code §5103.
The processing of an Initial Statement may take up to 6-8 weeks. At a later time, a Statement may be reviewed for compliance purposes, but they are not systematically audited for accuracy.
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Frequently Asked Questions &
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Business Information Contacts - If you need assistance from a water right attorney or consultant, the Division of Water Rights maintains a list for your convenience.
- Initial Statement of Water Diversion and Use Form
- Water Rights Online Forms Portal – submit an electronic version of the Initial Statement of Water Diversion and Use Form
- Supplemental Statement for Change form
After you file an initial Statement, there are two requirements you need to be aware of:
Supplemental Statements: A Supplemental Statement must be filed every year following the filing of an Initial Statement of Diversion and Use. The Division will NOT notify Statement holders when the annual report is due and we encourage anyone who would like to be notified of Online Reporting updates and news to subscribe to our Lyris list (Email Subscription) and selecting the "Water Rights Reporting Notification" under the "Water Rights" listing. The Division encourages you to keep your user ID and reporting identifier in a safe place for your annual reporting as you will not be supplied this information as in years past. Supplemental Statements or your annual reports must then be completed online through the eWRIMS Online Reporting prior to July 1 of that year (i.e. for water diverted during 2016, the Supplemental Statement is due by July 1, 2017). If the location of the existing point of diversion as identified on the Supplemental Statement has changed, the new location must be identified. If a new point of diversion has been added, resulting in more than one point of diversion, a separate Statement must be filed with the Division for the additional point of diversion.
Change of Diverter, Diverter Address or Responsible Party: Changes in the name and address of the person diverting water or a change in the Responsible Party should be made on the Supplemental Statement for Change form located at: Supplemental Statement for Change form so that the Division's database can be updated. The Division uses the Diverter information contained in the database to notify you of applications to appropriate water that may affect your supply, and also to notify you of any necessary news or information that might affect you as it relates to Statements of Water Diversion and Use. Failure to receive notification that a Supplemental Statement of Diversion and Use is due does not relieve you of the responsibility to report water diversion and use. It is your responsibility to notify the Division of Diverter/Address changes, of if for any reason a filing notification was not received. Penalties may be assessed if water is diverted but not reported.
To file an online Supplemental Statement you can access the Report Management System (RMS) at eWRIMS Online Reporting.
In addition to showing intent to comply with the law, having a Statement on file with the State Water Board is beneficial for several reasons.
- The information collected from the Statements helps the Division to protect the rights of existing and known diverters and to evaluate whether there is a reasonable likelihood that water is available for appropriation for new applications.
- If the Division has a record of an active Statement with your contact information, the law requires the Division to notify you about applications to appropriate water that might affect your supply.
- Water use reported on Statements and in reports required under the appropriation process will also help the Division to ensure the proper allocation of the State’s water resources.
- If the water user meets the following three criteria:
- diversions and filings are in compliance with the Water Code;
- diversions occur under a valid water right; and
- Statements includes accurate monthly diversion amounts,
...then Statements create official documentation of compliance with water right laws.
In recent years, the California Legislature has made changes to the forty-five year old Statement program. The purpose of these changes is to make the Statement program more effective as a tool for determining the amount of water beneficially used. These changes include:
- Revisions to the types of diversions exempt from reporting. NOTE: the exemptions at the top of this page are current.
Reporting the following types of diversions is not required if the diversion occurred between December 31, 1965 and December 31, 2008:
- The diversion was covered by an application to appropriate water on file with the board;
- The diversion was included in the consumptive use data for the Delta lowlands published by the Department of Water Resources in its hydrologic data bulletins; or
- The Department of Water Resources reported the diversion in its annual hydrologic data bulletins.
- Revisions to the information required on a form, including accurate monthly measurements.
See information regarding measurement requirements in the next section of this page.
- Revised penalties associated with reporting inaccurate information, including creating a new penalty for failure to file. This table summarizes the differences in the penalties:
New Penalty (2009 and after)
Per Day After Correction Period
|Failure to File||None||$1,000||30 Days||$500|
|Accidental Misstatement* *Including those caused by a broken water measuring device||$500||$250||60 Days||$250|
| Willful Misstatement*
*Including those caused by tampering with a water measuring device
|Other Violation||None||$500||30 Days||$250|
Diverters of water who file Statements are required to measure their diversions in accordance with Senate Bill 88 and the Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting the Diversion of Water. For additional information on the measurement regulations and requirements, please review the information on our website at Measurement Regulation and Measurement Information.