State Water Board Drought Year Water Actions - Water Transfers

Water Transfers

The State Water Board regulates temporary and long-term water transfers of post-1914 appropriative water rights from individuals, water districts and water agencies to South-of Delta purchasers. It also regulates transfers among parties within local watersheds. About 95 percent of water transfers are either transfers of water between State Water Project (SWP) contractors, or transfers of water between federal Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors. This type of water transfer does not require State Water Board approval except if the point of diversion, purpose of use, or place of use under the CVP's or SWP's water rights need to be changed to accomplish the transfer. However, for a CVP contractor to transfer water to a SWP contractor outside the CVP service area (or vice-versa), the transferring water right holder (either the US Bureau of Reclamation or the Department of Water Resources) must petition the State Water Board for a change in the water rights for either a short-term transfer or a long-term transfer. Short-term transfers on average, take about 60 days to process. The majority of that time is driven by a statutory requirement to provide notice to parties that may be injured by the proposed transfer, an opportunity to protest the action.

Water Transfers Executive Order: On May 20, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-21-13 to streamline approvals for voluntary water transfers to assist California's agricultural industry. Pursuant to Order B-21-13, the State Water Board is required to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights consistent with current law. Transfers of water under WC 1725, et seq. require a 30-day public notice period. If no comments are received during public notice of the petitions, the State Water Board must issue a decision on the petitions within 45 days from the date the petitions were received. If comments are received during the notice period, or for any other good cause, the State Water Board may extend the date of its decision for up to 20 days. Division of Water Rights staff is currently expediting the processing of the transfers consistent with the requirements and deadlines in the Water Code and as required by the Governor’s Executive Order. Below is a link to existing, ongoing water transfers that is updated regularly: