Where does California’s water come from? Most of us remember learning the water cycle, and so can understand easily enough that it’s the rain and snow that is the ultimate source of our water supply. But what most Californians might not realize is vast the state’s water infrastructure is that irrigates the farmland and delivers the water to our faucets, and how profoundly that infrastructure has remade the California that we know today. Click here to learn more about California’s water infrastructure systems.
Groundwater in California has received a lot of attention lately, and for good reason: We use a lot of it. So much so, California has been identified as the heaviest groundwater user in the United States, with approximately 16% of the nation’s groundwater supplies being extracted from the state’s aquifers.
Currently, there are three major planning processes focused exclusively on the Delta, two broader statewide plans, and multitudes of smaller plans and programs that affect the Delta in some way. Some plans are in the implementation stage while others are still in the planning stages. What are all these different plans and processes? This page will help sort them all out for you.
California water law is a complex subject. It is governed by both state and federal law, and is part property law and part environmental law. This topic has important historical roots, based in common law concepts of private rights to water, but is now dominated by federal legislation aimed at achieving environmental purposes. Adding to this complexity is the existence of a large number of federal, state and local agencies which play a role in the allocation and management of the state’s water resources.
This research guide explains the basic concepts a researcher needs in order to begin understanding the current legal regime that controls the water of California. The guide covers a wide variety of resources, both print and online, some of which are freely available but others only through paid subscriptions. The greater emphasis is on California statutes, cases and regulations, but the secondary sources discussed will provide the necessary explanation of how federal law applies. Click here to read this document.