Water rights are non-possessory "use rights" to take water from a watercourse, a moving, changing, common pool resource in which many can hold and exercise rights at the same time. Not only is the resource a common pool, but it is one in which the same molecules of water may be used and reused, over and over, by different right holders. Multiple right holders relying on and diverting the very same water that comes to them in the form of irrigation return flows, municipal effluent discharges, and reservoir releases from upstream users.
Because of the legally protected reliance of downstream right holders on the availability and reuse of previously diverted water that re-enters the system after being used upstream, what a diverter may transfer without causing injury to other users is water removed from the system by his own use and is thus unavailable for reuse by others downstream.
The physical system is complex and water rights law is complex for a reason, with the result that transferring water routinely involves a complex and time-consuming burden of factual inquiry and decision-making.
The Technical Information Document for Preparing Water Transfer Proposals, which is jointly prepared by California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region (Reclamation), is applicable to transfers involving State and federal water contractors, and non-project water users, and use of Project (Central Valley Project [CVP] and State Water Project [SWP]) facilities for through-Delta transfers. This technical information does not have a regulatory effect, but if followed, will make review of the transfer proposal more efficient. DWR and Reclamation will review each water transfer proposal with a view to the proposal's adequacy in addressing the technical information needed. Site specific conditions may require additional information and considerations beyond that described in the technical information to fully consider the proposal.
DWR and Reclamation cannot guarantee that a particular transfer will be successful even with adequate planning, regulatory approval, and monitoring due to the uncertainties related to California’s hydrologic conditions and regulatory restrictions on Project operations. As the hydrology gets wetter, there is typically less available export capacity to convey transfer water through the Delta.
For further information, please contact Tom Filler at (916) 653-5272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Comparisons of February 2012 Revision to the
DRAFT Technical Information for Preparing Water Transfer Proposals -- February 2013
- DRAFT Technical Information for Water Transfers -- February 2012
- Water Conditions
- DRAFT Technical Information for Water Transfers in 2011
- Presentation -- Rice Water Use Study
- Presentation -- Giant Garter Snake Research Update
2011 water transfers guidance and updates.
Water Transfers Program Briefing -- July 6, 2011