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California Water Boards: Water Rights - Water Use Reporting

Water Rights: Water Use Reports and Measurement


Quick Links: Reporting Requirements | How do I Report My Water Use? | Measurement | Contact Information

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Electronic versions of the forms for Measurement Method, Alternative Compliance Plan, and Request for Additional Time are now available HERE.

FILING DEADLINE UPDATE (2/6/2017): For diversions greater than or equal to 1,000 acre-feet per annum, the new filing deadline for any of the three forms is the same as the deadlines for submitting the annual water use reports. For water right permits and licenses, the annual reporting deadline and form submittal deadline is April 1, 2017. For Statements of Water Diversion and Use, the annual reporting deadline and form submittal deadline is July 1, 2017.

Compliance with the requirement to certify the accuracy of measurement devices is done on the annual water use reports. Use the click box titled "Provide measurement device information/certification.

The table below summarizes many of the upcoming deadlines related to measurement which are based on the size of the direct diversion or authorized storage.

Type of Diversion
(DD = direct diversion)
(af = acre-feet)

Deadline for Installing Device or Implementing Measurement Method

Deadline for Filing:
(1) Measurement Method
(2) Request for Additional Time
(3) Alternative Compliance Plan

Deadline for Filing:
(1) Report of Measurement Device*

DD ≥ 1,000 af/year
Storage ≥ 1,000 af

January 1, 2017

Permits & Licenses: April 1, 2017
Statements: July 1, 2017

Permits & Licenses: April 1, 2017
Statements: July 1, 2017

DD ≥ 100 af/year
Storage ≥ 100 af

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

Permits & Licenses: April 1, 2018
Statements: July 1, 2018

DD > 10 af/year
Storage > 10 af

January 1, 2018

January 1, 2018

Permits & Licenses: April 1, 2018
Statements: July 1, 2018

* Note: The Report of Measurement Device has been incorporated into the annual Water Diversion and Use Report. Information on each measurement device may be filed with a new or amended Water Diversion and Use Report.

The sample forms below are being provided to allow diverters to prepare and organize the information they will need to submit electronic version when they become available.

Staff provided an update to the Board on implementation of the measurement and reporting regulation at the Board Meeting on October 5, 2016.

Annual Water Use Reporting Requirements for Water Right Holders

New: On August 25, 2016, the State Water Board, Division of Water Rights mailed out deficiency letters to permittees and licensees who have not submitted their 2015 annual use report to the Report Management System by July 1, 2016. A list of parties with deficient reports can be accessed here,

Initial Deficiency List (August 23, 2016):

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/enforcement/docs/plftf2015_082316.pdf http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/enforcement/docs/plftf2015_082316.xlsx

Current Deficiency List (September 22, 2016):


Each letter contains the user's unique login and password to submit their report at https://rms.waterboards.ca.gov/ login.aspx along with a frequently asked questions reference. Affected parties need to submit their 2015 annual use report within 30 days to correct the deficiency, which may avoid potential enforcement action.

If you divert and use water from a surface water source such as a lake, creek, stream, or river, OR you divert water from a subterranean stream that flows in a known and definite channel, California law requires you to report your diversion and use to the State Water Board, Division of Water Rights. Water use reports shall be filed on an annual basis and shall document diversions made during the prior calendar year. The filing dates for the annual water use reports are summarized below:

2015 and earlier

July 1, 2016 July 1, 2016 July 1, 2016 Varies Not Required
2016 and thereafter

April 1, 2017 April 1, 2017 July 1, 2017 April 1, 2017 April 1, 2017

Note: Water use reporting requirements do not apply to individuals who receive all of their water through a municipal water system, such as a city public works system. Nor do they apply to individuals whose entire water diversions are delivered through a public or private water agency.  In these cases, the city, agency, or entity that delivers the water to you files the reports with the State Water Board.

If you need assistance from a water right attorney or consultant, the Division of Water Rights maintains a list of Business Information Contacts

How Do I Report My Water Use?


When you are ready to file your water use report, please visit the Report Management System Webpage - [Note: This link opens in a new window]

For additional information on how to file your water use reports, please visit the eWRIMS Online Reporting Webpage.

On-line reporting is required for all water use reports. The Report Management System (RMS) is used by water right holders to submit the reports required as a result of their diversion and use of water. Seven types of water use reports are currently supported by RMS

  • Supplemental Statement of Diversion and Use (Information on filing an initial Statement of Water Diversion and Use form may be found on the Statement Program Webpage).
  • Report of Licensee
  • Progress Report by Permittee
  • Groundwater Extraction Notice
  • Registrations (Livestock, Small Domestic and Small Irrigation)
  • Stockpond Certificates
  • Federal Filings
  • Small Water User Estimator Tool (for users under 10 AF/year)



Measurement - Livestock Stockpond Registrations and Stockpond Certificates

Holders of livestock stockpond registrations and stockpond certificates providing the right to divert up to 10 acre-feet of water per year for storage are required to annually report specific information to the State Water Board, including the quantity of water diverted by month. However, they generally are not required to measure the amount diverted. Where measurement is not required, a stockpond holder may estimate the monthly quantity of water diverted using their knowledge of the stockpond, weather conditions, ranching practices, and other relevant information. For examples refer to the June 24, 2016 letter to from the State Water Board to Assemblyman Brian Dahle.

Measurement - General

All water right holders who divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year are required to measure the water they divert. The measurement and monitoring requirements are summarized in the following table:

Type of Diversion
(af = acre-feet)
Installation Deadline Required Accuracy
(Device Installed On/Before 1/1/2016)
Required Accuracy
(Device Installed After 1/1/2016)
Required Monitoring
Qualifications For Installation
And Certification
Direct Diversion
>= 1,000 af/year


Storage >= 1,000 af
January 1, 2017 15% 10% Hourly Engineer/Contractor/Professional
Direct Diversion
>= 100 af/year


Storage >= 200 af
July 1, 2017 15% 10% Daily Engineer/Contractor/Professional
Storage >= 100 af July 1, 2017 15% 15% Weekly Engineer/Contractor/Professional
Direct Diversion
> 10 af/year


Storage >= 50 af
January 1, 2018 15% 15% Weekly Individual experienced with
measurement and monitoring
Storage > 10 af January 1, 2018 15% 15% Monthly Individual experienced with
measurement and monitoring

The implementation of improved measurement and reporting of water rights will improve water right administration and transparency of diversion records allowing the Board and all water users to more efficiently manage and use available water supplies while also protecting public trust resources. Detailed information on the regulatory requirements for measurement and reporting is available on the reporting and measurement regulation webpage.

Measuring Devices and Measurement Methods

A diverter may choose any measuring device, or combination of devices, that meet the measurement and monitoring requirements of the regulation. Additional information on measuring devices may be found on the following webpages:

In lieu of a measuring device, a diverter may propose a measurement method to comply with measurement and accuracy requirements under the regulation.

  • A measurement method is a method capable of accounting for the rate of diversion where the method is likely to achieve accuracy standards comparable to those of individual measuring devices.
  • The regulation is flexible in the types of measurement methods water users may submit as long as the measurement method meets the regulation’s accuracy standards for measurement.  Water diverters are encouraged to establish collaborative measurement on a local or regional basis.

Examples of measurement methods include:

  • Multiple water right holders on a single surface supply can propose a collaborative measurement approach.
  • A single water right holder with multiple points of diversion can propose a measurement method that may preclude the need to install a measurement device at each point of diversion.

Alternative Compliance

  • A water right holder may request an alternative compliance approach when strict compliance is not feasible, would be unreasonable expensive, would unreasonable affect public trust resources, or would result in the waste or unreasonable use of water.
  • Alternative compliance plans must be submitted on the Water Board's Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal.
  • The alternative compliance plan shall describe how the diverter will attain reasonable compliance with the measurement requirements of the regulation and be accompanied by detailed documentation establishing and supporting the specific basis for requesting the alternative.
  • Alternative compliance plans may be considered for a variety of issues, including measurement and monitoring of small hydropower projects, points of diversion that are inaccessible for portions of the year due to snow, points of diversion with highly variable flow rates, points of diversion under tidal influence, and locations with concerns for vandalism or theft.
  • Alternative compliance plans are subject to audit by the Deputy Director, and shall be publicly posted on the Board’s website with the opportunity for public comment.

Cost of Measurement and Monitoring

The cost of measuring and monitoring water use is case specific and can vary widely based on the requirements of each specific situation. The cost of compliance will also depend on whether a diverter can use an existing device or needs to install a new one and on the cost of installation by a qualified individual.

Additional information on the estimated costs of measurement and possible options for financial assistance may be found on the following webpages:

Request for Additional Time

A diverter may submit a request for additional time to comply with the measurement and monitoring requirements, contingent upon the diveter's ability to demonstrate one of the following:

  1. Financial considerations shall be considered only in cases where the diverter has requested agency funding, and is awaiting grant or loan award.
  2. Extensions based on other considerations are limited to:
    1. minimum time needed to access site due to weather conditions; or
    2. minimum time needed to obtain other agency permits; or
    3. minimum time needed to comply with construction time periods set in other agency permits; or
    4. unforeseen circumstances.
A request for additional time shall be submitted on the Division's form.


The State Water Resources Control Board is hosted an information fair on water right measurement and reporting on August 22nd in Sacramento to facilitate better understanding of (and compliance with) measurement and reporting requirements recently adopted by the Board. The purpose of the information fair was to bring together water right holders, vendors, and other professionals employed in the water measurement industry to discuss ways to reasonably and practically measure diversions of water in compliance with the new requirements.

Over a dozen exhibitors participated in the fair.

State Water Board staff made the following presentations during the information fair:

If you would like to download the video of the opening presentation and the Q&A sessions, please email dwr-measurement@waterboards.ca.gov to request instructions for downloading the video file from the State Water Board's FTP webpage.

Contact Information - Reporting and Measurement

Please contact the Division of Water Rights if you have any comments or questions regarding water use reporting or measurement.