Emergency Water Regulations Proposed

Proposed regulations would require accurate measurement on nearly all irrigation laterals/turnouts.

Published on: Jul 29, 2011

The California Water Commission has recommended the state adopt emergency rules. Developed under SBX7-7 as part of water legislation in 2009, the proposed regulations would require accurate measurement devices on nearly all irrigation laterals and turnouts, numbering more than 115,000 gates, and would require between 5% and 12% volume accuracy for delivered water. Water supplies would face a deadline of July 31, 2012, to begin measuring volumes.

The California Water Commission at its meeting June 15 recommended that the state adopt agricultural water measurement regulations.

Developed under SBX7-7 as part of the comprehensive water legislation of 2009, the proposed regulations would require accurate measurement devices on nearly all irrigation laterals and turnouts in the state, numbering more than 115,000 gates, and would require between 5% and 12% volume accuracy for delivered water. Water supplies would face a deadline of July 31, 2012, to begin measuring volumes delivered to farm and ranch customers.

Proposed regulations would require accurate measurement devices on nearly all irrigation laterals and turnouts, numbering more than 115,000 gates, and would require between 5% and 12% volume accuracy for delivered water.
Proposed regulations would require accurate measurement devices on nearly all irrigation laterals and turnouts, numbering more than 115,000 gates, and would require between 5% and 12% volume accuracy for delivered water.

At a previous water commission meeting, Department of Water Resources officials had suggested that certified volume measurement devices could cost $6,500 each and $1,200 per year for monitoring, repair and reporting.

The 2009 comprehensive legislative package requires that DWR adopt regulations that provide for a range of options that agricultural water suppliers may use to comply with the measurement requirement. It also mandates that water districts adopt a pricing structure for customers that take into account the quantity of water delivered.

Beginning in 2013, agricultural water supplies that do not meet the water management planning requirements established by the bill will not be eligible for state water grants or loans.

These new regulations also impact urban users by implementing portions of the Water Conservation Act of 2009 (enacted, SBx7 7) which effects urban as well as agriculture by adopting sections 596 through 5696.5 to title 23 of the California Code of Regulations. SBX 7 7 requires the state to achieve a 20% reduction in California urban per capita water use by December 31, 2020. This goal is to be achieved substantially through incremental water use reductions by urban retail water suppliers.

DWR has proposed a three-year phase-in of the volume measuring requirements, but the timeline has not been decided.