Water Measurement Regulations
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Do Measurement Regulations apply to you?
If you do not know which type of water right you have or know how much your water right is for, go to this document for assistance: Know Your Water Right
You are authorized to divert greater than 10 acre-feet of water per year under a permit or license,
You file a Statement of Water Diversion and Use (Statement) and you have previously diverted or intend to divert greater than 10 acre-feet. If you just bought the property, the determination would be what you intend to divert; you may look at previously reported or measured diversion quantities to estimate if your future uses will be greater than 10 acre-feet,
You are authorized to divert greater than 10 acre-feet of water per year or have a storage facility with a capacity greater than 10 acre-feet under a registration.
The sum of your multiple rights and/or claimed rights to divert from the same point of diversion or serving the same place of use exceeds 10 acre-feet per year in total. (Cal. Code Regs., Title 23, § 932.)
Steps to Comply with Measurement Regulations
Before installing a measurement device, we suggest doing the following: identify your Qualified Individual, determine how much water is associated with your water right or claimed right, and determine your measurement requirements. Once you have done those three things, you can work with the Qualified Individual to determine the best way to comply with the measurement regulations that also suits your needs and operation. This may be either installing a measurement device, implementing a measurement method, or filing an alternative compliance plan. The last step is to report your water diversions and use and submit a datafile.
- Identify your Qualified Individual
- Determine how much water is associated with your water right or claimed right
- Determine your measurement requirements
- Measure your diversion
- Report to the State Water Board
Water Measurement Manual
Selecting a Measuring Device
Below are examples of typical measuring devices.
Presentations and Workshops
Measurement and Reporting Workshop – January 18, 2019
Measurement and Reporting Fair – August 22, 2016
- Presentation on Measurement and Reporting
- Presentation on Measurement of Small Reservoirs
- Presentation on Measurement in the Bay Delta
- Presentation on Reporting Annual Water Diversions
- Video of Reporting Fair
Board Meeting - January 19, 2016
Board Workshop - December 17, 2015
- Proposed Regulations (Draft)
- Presentation on Proposed Regulations
- Public Comments Received on the Draft Regulation
Public Meetings – November 2015
History and Development of Measurement Regulations
On January 19, 2016, the State Water Board adopted a Resolution to adopt an Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting Water Diversions. On March 10, 2016, the regulation was submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review. The OAL approved this regulatory action on March 21, 2016.
Background and Drought History
Senate Bill 88 (SB 88) was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on June 24, 2015. SB88, now codified as California Code of Regulations, sections 931-938, add measurement and reporting requirements for a substantial number of diverters.
The legislation authorizes the State Water Board to adopt a regulation requiring measurement for water right holders and claimants who divert 10 acre-feet of water or more per year. The measurement requirement applies to approximately 12,000 water right holders and claimants. The legislation also authorizes the State Water Board to adopt a regulation requiring annual reporting from statement holders and persons authorized to appropriate under a permit, license, registration (small domestic, small irrigation, or livestock stockpond), or certificate for livestock stockpond use.
The legislation authorizes the State Water Board to adopt an initial regulation as an emergency regulation that shall remain in effect until revised by the State Water Board. The adoption of the initial regulation is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The State Water Board anticipated that the new measurement requirements could present challenges to the regulated community. The State Water Board held meetings and workshops in affected areas around the state to receive input on key issues to be addressed in the emergency regulation. The draft regulation was presented for discussion at a State Water Board Workshop on December 17, 2015 And on January 19, 2016, the State Water Board approved a Resolution to adopt an Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting Water Diversions. On March 10, 2016, the State Water Board submitted the proposed regulation to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review. The OAL approved this regulatory action on March 21, 2016.
California's recent extended drought has highlighted the need for more current and accurate information on how much water is being diverted in the various watersheds throughout the State. Even during years with more normal precipitation, rainfall and snow accumulation patterns vary widely across the State. Even though water supply may be adequate in one region, a critical water shortage can occur in another region.
More accurate data on water diversions is needed on a timely basis for all users of water in the State to evaluate how far their water supplies can be expected to stretch. As a user of water in the State, your diversion information together with an understanding of the priority of right to use a limited water supply, will allow for better water use planning decisions. This information is critical to ensure that priority water needs are met, that water rights holders have access to the information indicating whether sufficient water is likely to be available for their beneficial uses, and to ensure that adequate flows remain instream for more senior downstream beneficial uses.
During the 2015 drought, the State Water Board called upon the water use community to provide estimates of anticipated surface water diversion, and to report back on the amounts that were actually diverted. During the drought response, it became apparent that the historic reporting standard did not provide accurate or timely water demand data sufficient for drought management. SB 88 is expected to address this problem.
Benefits of Measurement and Reporting
The State Water Board is the agency with primary responsibility for the administration and regulation of water rights in California. The State Water Board allocates surface water through a system of permits, licenses, and registrations that grant and condition the right to directly divert water and/or to divert water to storage for reasonable beneficial use. In addition, the State Water Board maintains records of water use under riparian and pre-1914 claims of right.
The implementation of improved measurement and reporting of water rights as required under Senate Bill 88 and a proposed emergency regulation to implement the new law will improve water right administration and transparency of diversion records. More accurate and current diversion records together with their transparency allow the State Water Board and all water users to more effectively:
- Understand and plan ahead for limited water supplies;
- Identify water losses in a diversion system and take corrective actions to conserve water and stretch limited water supplies;
- Assure compliance with the quantity and season limitations of existing water rights;
- Protect the senior rights of diverters in accordance with their relative priorities;
- Provide for efficient management and use of water during times of shortage; and
- Improve water planning and near-term forecasting of water demand.