In Part 1 of this discussion, we looked at the different types of water rights included in the Water Board’s eWRIMS water rights search database. Now we’ll talk about how to narrow down your search to find just the water rights of interest. The majority of questions people have are about their own water rights. How can you find out what eWRIMS has about your water right?
If you pick the eWRIMS Database System link, and hit the “Accept” button at the bottom of the next page, you’ll arrive at at the Water Rights Records Search page. This looks like a data entry form, and allows you to search by water right type, status, ID, county, etc., and most relevant for finding your own, by Primary Owner. Whoops! I sure thought it was – it is now disabled. Maybe that’s temporary, but even a couple of weeks ago I was able to put in “California”, for example, and find the rights held by State agencies. As a matter of fact, none of the searches I am trying right now even list any results in the “Holder Name column.
UPDATE: Search by Primary Owner is working again as of June 29, 2016 at 8:30 A.M. Thanks, eWRIMS folks for restoring it!
Next, try your County, Source (River name or Source Name), Entity Type, and any other information that you know. This will give you a list of results. For example, entering Trinity for County and Hayfork Creek for Source yields 31 results. Without the “Holder Name” listed it is tough to tell which one is yours…unless you also know one of your IDs. If that functionality is restored that it makes it easy. One CAVEAT – if you or the previous owner have not updated the current owner (as the Board requires), then the person’s name will be some previous owner. You’ll likely recognize it.
If “you can’t get there from here”, then you can search by map, in the eWRIMS Web Mapping Application (GIS). The map starts by showing all of California and you zoom in to your area. When you zoom in far enough, you’ll see rectangular labels of various colors start to appear. You can click on these to see the individual Application, Permit, License, or Statement of Use. The screenshot above shows part of Hayfork Creek in Trinity County.
If you have not used eWRIMS, try it out for your and your neighbors’ water rights. Remember, most riparian and nearly all adjudicated water rights will NOT show up here, but pre-1914, post-1914, some riparian, and some other rights will. Next time we’ll talk about some of the information you can find on forms for the various rights and statements.
For now, happy water rights searching!