Category Archives: Water Transfer Policy

How is the Drought Affecting California’s Water Rights?

Over the last few weeks, the Journal of Water has posted a few very interesting articles about the challenges to California’s water rights. In particular, local irrigation districts in Central California and the State Water Resources Control Board have gotten into arguments over whether the most senior water rights can be curtailed in a time of drought. According to a Modesto Bee article, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) may this month curtail more junior water rights from drawing water. The SWRCB argues that they need to take this measure in the midst of unprecedented drought to protect the most senior water rights holders. The irrigation districts and the water rights holders are concerned that this move will lead to water rights curtailments of even the most senior rights in the state. At this point in California, there is clearly not enough water to satisfy all of the claims to water in the state. Until Mother Nature provides us with more rain, we have to determine who should receive water, and how much. In this piece, I will address the issue of water rights law in the state and how this may play out if the severe drought continues. Continue reading

How to Address Conflict over Water Transfers: WGA and WSWC Issues Valuable Study on Water Transfers in the West

Water Transfers in the West released last December by the Western Governors Association and the Western States Water Council presents a comprehensive framework to achieve the policy goals of western governors, who passed the following policy statement in 2011:

“The Western Governors believe states should identify and promote innovative ways to allow water transfers from agricultural to other users (including urban, energy and environmental) while avoiding or mitigating damages to agricultural economies and communities.”  Continue reading