The ongoing drought has highlighted this commonly accepted maxim: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” In response, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) has adopted new measuring and reporting requirements for surface water right holders in California. The emergency regulations implement a major component of Senate Bill 88, the drought trailer bill signed into law last summer. Unlike other emergency regulations, the requirements will remain in effect indefinitely.
SB 88 regulations will impact thousands of water users, with several key implications. First, the frequency of required reporting will increase. Beginning this summer, riparian and pre-1914 appropriative right holders will be required to submit annual rather than triennial reports. Water users who divert under a small domestic, small irrigation, or livestock stockpond registration or certificate will also need to report diversion data annually. All water users must now record monthly usage and file this information electronically on the State Board’s website every year.
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