State Drought Regulations

This is our final report on Chapter 27.  Earlier we explained how Sections 1 through 4 created a process for the State Water Resources Control Board to order public water purveyors to consolidate the operation of substandard purveyors.  We next explained how Sections 5 through 8 somewhat curtailed CEQA.   Our last report described how Sections 9 through 12 implemented the drought regulations on the local level.  The following describes how Sections 13 through 21 create the state level drought response.

Section 13 authorizes the State Board to adopt “emergency regulations” to deal with major water shortages.  (Water Code Section 1058.5.)  Violation of these regulations is punishable by a fine of up to $500 dollars per day.  (Section 1058.5 (d).).  Initially, the State Board relied on the governor’s proclamation for authority to adopt drought regulations.  The second draft of the regulations relied on the State Board’s power to declare reasonable beneficial uses.  Section 13 is another basis for the State Board’s jurisdiction.

Sections 14 and 21 appropriate money for State Board activities and assistance to water purveyors.  (Water Code Section 1552 and CalConserve Water Use Efficiency Revolving Fund.)

Section 15 requires diversions be measured by “A method capable of measuring the rate of direct diversion, rate of collection to storage, and rate of withdrawal or released from storage” by January 1, 2016. (Water Code Section 1840.) Section 16 allows the imposition of a $500 per day fine for failure to monitor diversions. (Section 1846.)  Section 17 requires more detail for diversion reports.  (Section 5103.)  Section 18 requires supplemental reports to be filed before July 1st of each year. (Section 5104.)

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