Document Details

When is Groundwater Recharge a Beneficial Use of Surface Water?

Kathleen Miller, Nell Green Nylen, Holly Doremus, Dave Owen, Andrew Fisher | August 1, 2018
Summary

Any diversion and use of surface water in California requires a water right. Today, to receive a new water right permit, an entity that wants to appropriate surface water must file an application with the Board. The Board may only approve an application if it determines that the proposed use of the water is for a reasonable and beneficial purpose. Currently, there is uncertainty about whether—and, if so, under what circumstances—the Board will consider groundwater recharge to be a beneficial use of water. California law makes clear that the act of recharging groundwater, alone, is not a beneficial use of water. Instead, the specific purpose of the recharge is key.

Product Description

Any diversion and use of surface water in California requires a water right. Today, to receive a new water right permit, an entity that wants to appropriate surface water must file an application with the Board. The Board may only approve an application if it determines that the proposed use of the water is for a reasonable and beneficial purpose. Currently, there is uncertainty about whether—and, if so, under what circumstances—the Board will consider groundwater recharge to be a beneficial use of water. California law makes clear that the act of recharging groundwater, alone, is not a beneficial use of water. Instead, the specific purpose of the recharge is key.

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Keywords:

Groundwater Exchange, groundwater recharge, water rights