Water Right Compliance and Enforcement in the Delta
Craig M. Wilson | April 5th, 2012
The report focuses on the State Water Board’s responsibility to enforce water rights and to prevent unauthorized diversions of water in the state of California.
Pursuant to the Water Code, the State Water Board is responsible for enforcing the terms and conditions of water right permits, licenses, and registrations, as well as investigating diversions of water. As addressed in the Strategic Workplan for Activities in the San Francisco Bay / Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary, the State Water Board is directed to investigate illegal diversions and violations of permit and license conditions and take action when violations are occurring in the Bay-Delta Watershed.
The report discusses how the State Water Board began an investigation of illegal diversions of water, focusing on the Delta. For instance, the State Water Board has investigated two islands in the Delta to establish whether the landowners possessed any water rights. Most did, though some individuals were subject to more review, the majority of which concerned validating riparian claims for severed parcels.
The report notes that the State Water Board has also investigated diverters within an area of the southern Delta and resolved all cases resulting from that investigation. The report also discusses how the State Water Board has begun an investigation of water diverters, statewide, who have failed to file required reports, which include the annual reports for permit and license holders, and the supplemental statements.
Finally, the report suggests a new approach of looking at districts in the Delta who serve water to individuals, in addition to looking at compliance issues related to individual diverters.