Sacramento, CA — California Governor Jerry Brown is concerned about water supply given the dry winter.
In hopes of helping the agriculture industry, yesterday he issued an Executive Order calling for the streamlining of the approval process for water transfers in the state. It calls for state officials to expedite and review the voluntary transfers of water consistent with state law.
The Governor’s Office reports that under the order, the California Department of Water Resources will coordinate State Water Project operations to alleviate critical impacts to San Joaquin Valley agriculture.
The State Water Resources Control Board and DWR share responsibilities for the transfer of water in California. Water transfers in dry years assist those who potentially have excess supplies by allowing them to sell to those who are short of supplies, providing an economic incentive to both the buyer and seller.
The DWR’s May 2nd Sierra Nevada snowpack reading was only 17 percent of average for the date.
The Governor’s proclamation reads as follows:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) take immediate action to address the dry conditions and water delivery limitations, by doing the following:
1. Expedite processing of one-year water transfers for 2013 and assist water transfer proponents and suppliers as necessary, provided that the transfers will not harm other legal users of water and will not unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other in-stream beneficial uses.
2. The SWRCB shall expedite review and processing of water transfer petitions in accordance with applicable provisions of the Water Code.
3. The DWR shall expedite and facilitate water transfer proposals in accordance with applicable provisions of the Water Code.
4. The DWR shall coordinate State Water Project operations, in cooperation with Central Valley Project operations, to alleviate critical impacts to San Joaquin Valley agriculture.
5. The DWR shall continue to analyze trends in groundwater levels in the San Joaquin Valley, together with impacts of groundwater extraction on land subsidence.
6. The DWR and the SWRCB shall 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.
This order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Executive Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Executive Order.