Public Listening Session: Water Transfer Process Streamlining

The staff of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will hold a listening session to solicit ideas on recommendations to streamline the review process for temporary water transfers, in which water can be transferred for up to one year.

The purpose of the listening session is to obtain input to inform efforts by the State Water Board and DWR to streamline water transfers. Information provided will be considered in the context of near-term and long-term planning for improvements in transfer processing.

Background and Agenda:

On May 20, 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. issued Governor’s Executive Order B-21-13 (Executive Order), for the purpose of streamlining approval for water transfers to address dry conditions and water delivery limitations.

The Executive Order directs the State Water Board and DWR to expedite processing of water transfers and to assist water transfer proponents and suppliers, as necessary, provided that the transfers are consistent with the Water Code, will not harm other legal users of water and will not unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses.

The State Water Board and DWR were also directed to make all efforts to coordinate with relevant federal agencies, water districts, and water agencies to expedite the review and approval of water transfers in California.

On January 17, 2014, Governor Brown issued a Proclamation of a Drought State of Emergency (Proclamation). The Proclamation finds that dry conditions and lack of precipitation present urgent problems to drinking water supplies and cultivation of crops, which put farmers’ long-term investments at risk.

The conditions also threaten the survival of animals and plants that rely on California’s rivers, including many species in danger of extinction. The Proclamation directed the State Water Board and DWR to expedite the processing of water transfers as set forth in Executive Order B-21-13.

Proposed Agenda
• Overview of State Water Board Transfer role and current process

• Overview of DWR Water Transfer role and current process

• Public Comments on Streamlining Water Transfers

This Listening Session is designed as a forum for public input on the agencies’ streamlined water transfer processes, rather than discussion of specific transfer projects. Input received during the session will be taken into consideration in determining whether to modify the agencies’ water transfer processes in the short and long term.

DWR and the State Water Board seek suggestions for improving:

• availability of information on water transfers

• responses to comments on water transfer proposals.

• coordination between transfer approval agencies

• available information on impacts due to water transfers

• evaluation of surface water, groundwater, and environmental impacts related to water transfers.

Each commenter may be asked to limit their remarks to five minutes, depending on the number of parties present. Parties of like interests are encouraged to consolidate their comments and may pool their allotted time in a joint statement.

Parties also may submit written comments, either in lieu of or in support of their verbal comments. Comments will be collected for consideration in future transfer efforts, however the State Water Board and DWR will not be providing formal responses to comments.

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