This is the third part of the discussion of the Water Board‘s Electronic Water Rights Information Management System – eWRIMS. In eWRIMS Board Water Rights Search – Part 2, we looked at how to search by Water Right type, Status, ID, County, etc., and most relevant for finding your own, by Primary Owner. Let’s search by Primary Owner “Metropolitan”:
The results we get are all the names with the word “Metropolitan” in them, and first on the list are the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California:
We’ll scroll down the page until we get to Application Number A006406. By the way, if you have a Permit or License, or you are looking for one, that Application Number is important. It is the unique identifier for these documents, sort of like the Assessors Parcel Number is the true unique identifier for your property for tax purposes. A006406 is for an Appropriative Permit for with a face value of 1,085,950 acre-feet. If we click on the number A006406 in the left column, we get this summary:
The summary doesn’t have that much more useful information – what we really want to do is go look at the original document. Click on the “View Permit” text in the upper left-hand corner. Now you get to see a scan of the permit. You can see that document by clicking here: a006406 The first page of the permit is shown here. And this is the information you want to see for your application, permit, or license, the actual face value, purpose, place of use, and so on.
In the same way, we can view and download Statements Of Use (SOU). Clicking through the Summary is a little different – we scroll down the page and then pick the statement for the year we want. Here is the summary for SOUs for one of the City of Santa Barbara’s Permits:
Clicking on the year 2015 brings up the following report, showing that under this Permit, Santa Barbara diverted a total of 287.8 acre-feet last year:
That’s how we use eWRIMS to search for information on water rights and Statements Of Use. Remember, many thousands of adjudicated and riparian rights, and some pre-1914 rights, are not in the database. What do we do if we think there is a water right, and we’re not sure where the information is?
- Start with eWRIMS, and call the Water Board if the database answer is inconclusive. You may have to call several times, these folks are way too busy.
- Call the Watermaster if it is an adjudicated water right under watermaster service. Even if the right is under a decree with no Watermaster, whoever you call probably has a good idea of who to call next to find out. Google the county and name of the stream to see if one of the first five or so results brings up a Watermaster’s name or phone number.
- Call the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the water right is. Ask if they have a searchable index of some kind that would give you a Case Number for an adjudication. Some counties even have old water rights books where you can search for a pre-1914 recording of a right.
That’s plenty for now. Have a great weekend!