How Do You Record Diversions? Water Level Loggers, Value Vs. All Component Costs – Update

My friend Steve Beall in the far north of the state brought something to my attention, regarding my comparison of four water level loggers (five with the In-Situ Troll 200 added).  I listed only the component costs, and not the data cable, data shuttle (Hobo), software, PVC/galvanaized pipe, or installation.  Good point, and thanks for suggesting that I address all costs, Steve.  The five loggers detailed farther on down in the post are, with component costs only, data transfer, installation, and certification not included:

  1. Vegetronix Aqua-Plumb Water Level Sensor connected with the Logger-8-USB  ($400 per diversion, less if diversions are very close to one another – with tax and shipping, about $500 per diversion)
  2. Onset Hobo U20L-04 Water Level Logger  ($600, less for multiple diversions; with tax and shipping about $700)
  3. Global Water WL-16  ($1,000 per diversion, about $1,100 with tax and shipping)
  4. In-Situ Rugged Troll 200 Data Logger and Tube 300 Telemetry System ($1,200 – less for multiple diversions, plus $1,300 for each telemetered diversion…about $2,500 for one diversion; with tax and shipping about $2,800 per diversion)
  5. PMC Versaline VL4511 – WLS-31 ($1,370 per diversion, about $1,500 with tax and shipping)

The additional components you will need if you want to download and process your own data are:  a customized data cable (or shuttle for the Hobo), and software.  These add $250 to $350.  You also need a laptop, except for the Hobo, unless you temporarily remove the other loggers to download them on your desktop at the house.  Shipping and taxes will add $70 to $350, depending on which equipment and the location where it ships from.  Electronic tools and equipment, and various testers are useful, sometimes necessary, to chase down problems.  Extra connectors and wire might be needed – keep at least a simple kit.  Installation can cost $200 and up, depending on the difficulty, need for vandalism protection, access, and so on.  Certification by a professional, required for all but the smallest diversions, costs $300 to $500 if you have Rights To Water Engineering do the work.

*****  ORIGINAL POST, with a couple of edits:

Recording is the other half of measuring diversions from streams, under California’s new water diversion measurement and reporting regulations.  Diverters are required by law to measure flows at frequencies based on the volume of water diverted in a year.  The flow has to be measured and recorded.  Of course most diverters don’t care about the data – it costs money and it doesn’t add income…unless a farm or ranch is upgrading for efficiency or to increase acreage  What you and I want in all of our purchases is the best value for the money.

This is a long post since it is hard to summarize something this technical so here is the bottom line:  my top recommendation is the last of five in this post – for most diverters.

SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)
SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)

For very small diversions, flows have to be recorded monthly or weekly.  That is easy to do as long as someone goes to the diversion at least once a week.

WaterLevelLogger_wl300_1
Photo credit: globalw.com

Shawn_Sticking_WeirFor medium-sized diversions, flows must be recorded daily.  This is possible, but
it doesn’t allow for the owner or employees to have time off, travel, and so on.  At this level of recording, an automatic recorder of some type is necessary.  Large diversions must be recorded hourly, and automatic recording is the only practical way to be sure flows are recorded.  That is the subject of today’s post: automatic recording of flows, or what is really done most of the time, recording water levels and using equations to calculate the flow.

About_1.4_cfs_over_weir_edited_smallWe will leave aside the discussion of propeller, acoustic Doppler, magnetic, and other in-line meters.  If you have a diversion that goes through a long length of straight pipe, one of these devices can be bolted in or strapped on.  This post is about open diversions into a ditch, where an instantaneous measurement device (weir, orifice, flume) already exists.  These open devices do not measure flow directly, they measure the water level.  An equation is used to convert levels to flows after data is downloaded.

There are hundreds of devices (ready to go) and components (connected parts) to measure water levels.  There are also hundreds of loggers that collect data.  Here, we will look at 5 water level sensors connected to data loggers, called water level loggers.

 

THE FIRST is a setup that rancher and retiraqua-plumbed aircraft engineer Frank Crowe has been working on.  Frank’s desire is to save him and his neighbors money, so he has been working with the Vegetronix Aqua-Plumb Water Level Sensor connected with the Logger-8-USB.  Together these are $340, which is
the least cost of anything that I have seen.  Add shipping, tax, logger-8-usb
and $60 in other parts and batteries, and for $450 you’ll have the parts you n
eed for moderately durable, reliable, and accurate water level logger.  Not only that, but 
the Logger-8-USB has 8 channels altogether, so a diverter could measure up to 8 water levels at once by adding 7 more sensors at $95 apiece, not including tax and shipping.

Here is Frank’s latest setup with his comments:  “Finally was able to put together a prototype package for the vegetronix_frank_1_p1300077vegetronix_frank_2_p1300078Vegetronix sensor.  The box is a little bigger than needed, but seems to work.  I’m trying to get the data to download into something I can analyze, but it seems to work very stable.

The pipe is 3/4″ mounted to the box, with the sensor wire going down to about an inch from the bottom and then returns up over 12″, therefore doubling the sensitivity.  The end is held by some wire at the moment, but would probably work better with a stainless steel spring.  The top of the pipe is not sealed, but should be to keep the humidity out of the box.  Of course if the data logger were in a separate box, the seal would not be necessary.

To exercise the thing, it is stuck into a 3″ pipe with a water drip going in and a drain at the bottom.  The overflow hole is 13″ above the bottom.”

So, what is the trade-off?  If you are handy, somewhat experienced with electronic components, and willing to spend some hours, you can set this up yourself.  Frank can help a few of his neighbors, but he has his family and ranch requiring his time, too.  Otherwise, it is going to cost a couple hundred dollars or so for someone to set this up for you.  It needs to be checked, maintained, and adjusted more often than the integrated water level loggers, too, so the maintenance and downloading cost can be $50 to $100 per year if everything is working well.

 

SECOND, the Onset Hobo U20L-04 Water Level Logger is $300 before shipping and tax.  The DWR Groundwater folks I worked with for years, use these in groundwater wells.  They are easy to set up – program one and place it in a stilling well.  Take it out once or twice a year to dowonset_hobo_u20l-04-editednload the data.  The battery life is 5 years, maybe more.

Why aren’t these automatically the cheapest option?  They may be the cheapest if a diverter has 3 diversions or more, or several neighbors are using the same Hobo U20L-04.  However, they are not vented, meaning that as atmospheric pressure changes due to low pressure areas and storms, the device’s pressure reading will not be as accurate.  Therefore  Onset recommends having a second U20L-04 set up outside the water to measure the pressure change over time.  The second device can be some miles away, so one outside calibration device could be used for several in the water within a 300-square-mile area.

What I heard from colleagues is that these did not last for 10 years, and sometimes not for five years, although the device is being improved over time.  Durability and reliability of a device are important for uninterrupted data, and therefore compliance with the Water Board’s regulations.  The more often onset_u20l-xx_handhelda device has to be replaced, the more it costs over time.

In summary, the cost of Onset Hobo U20L-04 devices is $600 plus tax and shipping.  This cost may be reduced somewhat if the cost of a calibration device can be shared between several diverters, or several diversions.

 

THE THIRD device discussed here is the Global Water WL-16.  This is an integrated, vented device, designed to program and set in a pipe.  Watermasters have used these for years at various diversions.  They cost about $1,000, before tax and shipping.global_water_wl16-edited

The WL-16 has a stainless steel casing and is fairly tough.  They should last a good 5 years.  The problem is at the sensor end – it is relatively easy to clog up in warm-water conditions, with algae and/or silt.  In cool flowing water, it might operate for the whole irrigation season.  In warmer or still water, it will have to be checked and sprayed clean every 1 to 3 months.  Watermasters have put the sensor ends in distilled water in baby-bottle bags, and rubber-banded the tops of the bags closed to keep the sensors clean for the entire irrigation season.

One other concern which I have not discussed with the manufacturer – the manual for the WL-16globalwater_wl16_in_field was updated in 2009 and refers to Windows XP, not the current Windows 10.  I am sure that a newer manual is sent out with the device when it is purchased.  Overall, with some care to check the sensor end and clean it as necessary, this is a great drop-it-in-and-turn-it-on option.

 

THE FOURTH device, the In-Situ Troll, has the advantage of out-of-the-box options for telemetry.  The Groundwater folks at the Department of Water Resources have used these and a couple recommend these for the right application.  The In-Situ

in-situ_rugged_troll_200_loggerRugged Troll 200 Data Logger and Tube 300 Telemetry System.

The Troll 200 Data Logger ($595) can run independently without telemetry, or be attached to the Tube 300R Telemetry System ($1,320).  The Troll 200 is non-vented, so like the Onset Hobo data loggers mentioned above, an extra unit is needed for air pressure to correct the water level (pressure) recorded by the unit in the water.  The cable and software for the Troll 200 are about $375.

The total unit cost for 2 Troll 200s, a Tube 300R, and accessories, is about $2,900.  Tax, shipping, and installation will add $600 and up, depending on location, elevation, and the length of the dirt road going in; and difficulty at the site and vandalism potential will add costs, too.  $3,500 + for telemetered water level logging is not cheap, but it is a lot less than a full-on gaging station with satellite radio, which costs $12,000 and up for components, and over $2,000 to install in easy locations.  Telemetry is expensive, there is no way of getting around that fact.

The Tube 300R requires a separate phone number for each water in-situ_tube_300r_telemetrylevel logger, and cell service.  In-Situ offers the option of $35/month web hosting, on its HydroVu Cloud Data Services Plan.  This cost is in addition to the Tube 300R, cell phone service, and installation.

 

THE FIFTH and final water level logger discussed here is the PMC Versaline VL2111 – WLS-31 Water Level Datalogger  (replaced by the same-priced, updated model:  PMC Versaline VL4511 – WLS-31).  This looks much like the WL-16, but instead of a silicon bladder at the end of sensor, it has a non-fouling ceramic sensor.  At $1,370 before tax and shipping, it has the highest purchase cost of the 4 listed in this post, but it is my recommendation for durability, reliability, and low maintenance.

pmc_vl2111-with-wls-31-datalogger

The Versaline is made for wastewater; in other words, for sewer lines.  The datalogger end is vented and it is not supposed to be submerged, same as the Vegetronix components and the WL-16.  However, it is made to put inside manholes where it is very warm and humid.  The PMC guys have maintained the sensor end in rough environments with the equipment lasting 8 to 12 years.  If the sensor gets completely covered with algae (or something worse), it still works.  It can be cleaned off with a toothbrush if it seems so clogged it might prevent water from getting to the ceramic end.  The data logger and sensor are fairly new but are improvements on the older, long-lived versions.

The VL2111 – WLS-31 is three times the cost of the least-expensive option.  However, it might be the least expensive in the long run…it sure is the most worry-free of all the options listed here!

*****  From the update post, Update – Recommended Water Level Logger: PMC Versaline VL4511 – WLS-31

The PMC guys had to make a change in the sensor, so now the recommended setup is the PMC Versaline VL4511 – WLS-31 Water Level Datalogger.  It will cost the same and be as durable.  Regarding the reason for the change, pmc_header-editedversaline-vl4511-and-wls-31-water-level-datalogger-specs-editedBob Foster at PMC wrote: “This system will come with our VL4511 level sensor and not the VL2000 that we initially spoke to you about.

The reason for the change is the VL2000 required slightly more power than what is available through the datalogger battery, so we decided to provide an upgraded sensor model, which uses much less power.

This upgraded sensor, our VL4511 also has the advantage of using:

  1. An all-welded Titanium housing, which has a 5-year corrosion warranty
  2. Significantly smaller diameter

Additionally, it still has anti-clog features near the sensing element to ensure reliability.”

 

There are many, many choices for logging water levels.  These are the ones I would install, either because I, my colleagues at DWR, or larger farms or ranches have used them; or because I have checked with other users.  One of these choices can serve you well!

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Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

May you have a Merry Christmas, with friends and family around you, and a Happy New 2017, prospering the whole year through!  Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection are for all who call on His Name, and at church on Christmas, Sunday, may all celebrate the same.  (And remember, thank the LORD for making all the snow and rain.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Water Board Fines 458 Non-Filers For 2015 With ACLs Of $250 to $3,500

The State Water Resources Control Board issued fines (Administrative Civil Liabilities) to 458 people/companies/organizations on November 28.  There were actually 544 fines; some people or companies had several.  Each fine was $75,000 – seventy five thousand dollars – ouch!  This was just for not filing reports of water use for 2015, not for doing something wrong with water.  “Fortunately”, the Water Board offered each recipient of a letter a “settlement”; the numbers I saw were between $250 and $3,500 per letter.

WATER BOARD 2015 NON-FILERS ACL COMPLAINT ACTIONS 11-28-2016

“……….

YOU ARE HEREBY GIVEN NOTICE THAT:

1. [NAME] (referred to herein as Licensee) is alleged to have violated Title 23, Chapter 2.7, Article 2, section 929 of the California Code of Regulations. Section 929 requires annual use reports to be filed by July 1st of the succeeding year for every water right License.

……….”

For those whose water right is less than 20 acre-feet, they got letters threatening fines, but not actual assessments.  The Board wants these folks to file asap, not pay fines unless someone ignores a series of letters.  One client of mine was not getting any mail, since the mail delivery person was putting mail in all the wrong boxes.  Once the problem got solved, my client’s first contact was a letter threatening a fine larger than $75,000!  Those reports are now filed and there won’t be a fine.

Back in September, I took a weekend going through the Board’s list of 3,200 non-filers and notified everyone I could reach electronically – email, web pages, even a few FaceBook messages.  Almost none of these folks are still on the current list.  I wish I could have reached every name on the list, but I don’t have the resources of a government agency to find everyone.

“……….

2. Water Code section 1846, subdivision (a)(2), provides that the State Water Board may administratively impose civil liability to any person or entity who violates a regulation or order adopted by the State Water Board not to exceed $500 for each day in which the violation occurs. Water Code section 1846, subdivision (c) provides that civil liability may be imposed administratively by the State Water Board pursuant to Water Code section 1055.

3. Water Code section 1055, subdivision (a), provides that the Executive Director for the State Water Board may issue a complaint to any person or entity to whom administrative civil liability (ACL) may be imposed.

……….

PROPOSED CIVIL LIABILITY

8. California Water Code section 1846(a)(2) provides that the State Water Board may administratively impose civil liability to any person or entity who violates a regulation or order adopted by the State Water Board in an amount not to exceed $500 for each day in which the violation occurs.

9. As of November 28, 2016, Licensee has been in violation for 150 days. Based on the days of violation described in the previous paragraph, the maximum liability for the violations alleged is $75,000 (150 days at $500/day).

……….

CONDITIONAL SETTLEMENT OFFER

12. To promote resolution of the alleged annual use filing violations and administrative efficiency, the Division makes the following conditional settlement offer (Conditional Offer). Licensee can avoid further enforcement action and settle the alleged failure to file annual use violation by agreeing to comply with the terms of the Conditional Offer, provided below, as well as in the Acceptance of Conditional Settlement Offer and Waiver of Right to Hearing or Reconsideration (Acceptance and Waiver) enclosed hereto as Exhibit “A.”

13. This Conditional Offer requires Licensee to pay an Expedited Payment Amount of $1,500, file the Annual Use Report within 20 days of receipt of this complaint, and waive the right to a hearing and reconsideration of the alleged violations. This Expedited Payment Amount is based on Licensee’s failure to comply to date, maximum amount of allowed diversion under the License along with staff costs incurred in preparing the ACL complaint.

……….”

Telemetry Required On Diversions Over 20% Of Stream, or 30 CFS, or 10,000 AF+… By 2020; One Hardware Option Listed Here

According to the State Water Resources Control Board Drought Emergency Regulations, some diversions must be telemetered.   This does not applied to diverters under State or court-appointed watermaster service…their Watermaster IS their telemetry most of the time, by visits, phone, and email.

Stream Gage - Photo Credit: usgs.gov
Telemetered Stream Gage – Photo Credit: usgs.gov

 Which diversions must have telemetry, and when?  If you have read Paragraph (4) of the regulations (below), you have noticed that it is not easy to understand.  It took me 12 reads before I really figured it out…and I have read and applied more than 20 water rights court decrees over the last 12 years.

We’ll start with “when“.  Telemetering has to be installed and working by the end of 2019, to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline.  That is, unless your diversion is from one of four named watersheds tributary to the Russian River…and all those folks are talking with the Water Board and know what their special deadlines are.

Now the “which“:

—–>  Anyone who diverts 10,000 AF per year or more.  What amount of diversion is this?  “It depends” is the usual answer.  Here are some examples:

  • A constant diversion of 27.8 cfs for 6 months, from one or more diversions to the same owner, and maybe to any lessor
  • A constant diversion of 21.8 cfs for 8 months, from one or more diversions to the same owner, and maybe to any lessor
  • A more real-life example is of a diversion that starts at 100% of the water right, say on April 1, and declines to 50% at the end of the season, say September 30.  For a steadily declining diversion over 6 months, the beginning rate is 37 cfs, and the diversion amount would drop to 19 cfs by the end of September.
  • Stretching out the season to 8 months, say March 1 to October 31, a diversion of 28 cfs declining steadily to 14 cfs.

—–>  Anyone who has a reservoir that can store 10,000 AF.  It does not matter if the actual diversion is zero, or 1,000 AF, the capacity makes the difference.

—–>  Anyone who diverts 30 cfs or more at ANY time, June through September.  Wouldn’t someone know if his or her diversion ever hits the 30 cfs mark?  Many times, no, especially when surplus flows early in the season may allow a diversion to take 20% to 50% more than the water right.  (Surplus flows are allowed for some water rights, not for others, that’s another subject….)

—–>  Anyone who diverts more than 1/5 of a creek or river (or maybe just 1/10 if the Board gives notice) that has a stream gage online, and who is on certain north coast streams, or Deer, Mill, or Antelope Creeks tributary to the Sacramento River, or 4 tributaries to the Russian River, …OR HAS, OR USED TO HAVE THREATENED, ENDANGERED, OR PROTECTED FISH.  That last is the big deal and encompasses most of California’s waterways below the dams!  I suspect it does not apply at this time to most streams above Shasta and Friant Dams, since those were built prior to the passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973.  The main concern on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers are listed spring and winter run Chinook salmon.  One or more fish species could be listed in the future on these above-dam streams, which is a potential issue just about everywhere.  Here’s a way-out-there thought – if agencies truck salmon up above the dams, are the fish still listed?

State Water Resources Control Board Resolution No. 2016-0005
To Adopt a Drought Emergency Regulation For Measuring And Reporting Water Diversions

telem_1

telem_2

One Way To Telemeter A Diversion

There are out-of-the-box options for telemetry – I’ll mention just one here:  the In-Situ

in-situ_rugged_troll_200_loggerRugged Troll 200 Data Logger and Tube 300 Telemetry System.

The Troll 200 Data Logger ($595) can run independently without telemetry, or be attached to the Tube 300R Telemetry System ($1,320).  The Troll 200 is non-vented, so like the Onset Hobo data loggers mentioned in earlier posts, an extra unit is needed for air pressure to correct the water level (pressure) recorded by the unit in the water.  The cable and software for the Troll 200 are about $375.

The total unit cost for 2 Troll 200s, a Tube 300R, and accessories, is about $2,900.  Tax, shipping, and installation will add $600 and up, depending on location, elevation, and the length of the dirt road going in; and difficulty at the site and vandalism potential will add costs, too.  $3,500 + for telemetered water level logging is not cheap, but it is a lot less than a full-on gaging station with satellite radio, which costs $12,000 and up for components, and over $2,000 to install in easy locations.  Telemetry is expensive, there is no way of getting around that fact.

The Tube 300R requires a separate phone number for each water in-situ_tube_300r_telemetrylevel logger, and cell service.  In-Situ offers the option of $35/month web hosting, on its HydroVu Cloud Data Services Plan.  This cost is in addition to the Tube 300R, cell phone service, and installation.

Update – Who To Call At The Board?

A question I often hear is, “Hey, I got this letter/a call from the State Water Resources Control Board.  What am I supposed to do about measuring my flow?”  The main number for the Water Board is (916) 341-5300 – and these folks have much more work to do than time to do it.  Several calls may be required to reach a knowledgeable person who isn’t already talking to two telephone calls, or making three investigations in the field.  So, start with the main contact, Paul Wells, who is very knowledgeable and can get you the answers or the person you need to talk to.

By the way, Thank You to Kathy Mrowka, who has been reasonable in working with diverters who are trying to comply.  What she says often is true:  talk with her and/or others at the Water Board and you’ll likely get consideration, some more time to comply, and reduced (maybe greatly reduced) fines.

Since many calls I get are about enforcement letters, calls, or visits from the Board, it’s probably most useful to have the phone numbers and emails from Enforcement Program Staff.  Here they are, from the Water Rights Enforcement Program Web Page:

Enforcement Program Staff

Katherine Mrowka, Manager
(916) 341-5363
Kathy.Mrowka@waterboards.ca.gov
Paul Wells, Senior WRCE Specialist
(916) 323-5195
Paul.Wells@waterboards.ca.gov

 

Central Coast/So. Cal Unit San Joaquin Valley Unit
Laura Lavallee, Supervisor
(916) 341-5422
Laura.Lavallee@waterboards.ca.gov

 

Ramon Ruiz
(916) 341-5411
Ramon.Ruiz@waterboards.ca.gov

Kyle Wooldridge
(916) 323-9405
Kyle.Wooldridge@waterboards.ca.gov

Janelle Heinzler
(916) 323-9406
Janelle.Heinzler@waterboards.ca.gov

Dave LaBrie
(916) 341-5343
Dave.Labrie@waterboards.ca.gov

Brian Coats, Supervisor
(916) 341-5389
Brian.Coats@waterboards.ca.gov

 

Chuck Arnold
(916) 341-5634
Chuck.Arnold@waterboards.ca.gov

Matt Quint
(916) 341-5380
Matthew.Quint@waterboards.ca.gov

Damon Hess
(916) 341-5345
Damon.Hess@waterboards.ca.gov

Jeff Yeazell
(916) 341-5322
Jeff.Yeazell@waterboards.ca.gov

Sacramento Valley Unit North Coast Unit
Victor Vasquez, Supervisor
(916) 323-9407
Victor.Vasquez@waterboards.ca.gov

 

Michael Contreras
(916) 341-5307
Michael.Contreras@waterboards.ca.gov

Kathy Bare
(916) 327-3113
Kathy.Bare@waterboards.ca.gov

Oxcar Macias
(916) 341-5637
Oxcar.Macias@waterboards.ca.gov

Natalie Stork
(916) 322-8425
Natalie.Stork@waterboards.ca.gov

Tomas Eggers
916-327-8039
Tomas.Eggers@waterboards.ca.gov

Taro Murano, Supervisor
(916) 341-5399
Taro.Murano@waterboards.ca.gov

 

Michael Vella
(916) 327-3114
Michael.Vella@waterboards.ca.gov

Skyler Anderson
(916) 341-5355
Skyler.Anderson@waterboards

Kevin Porzio
(916) 323-9391
Kevin.Porzio@waterboards.ca.gov

Bill Rigby
(916) 341-5376
Bill.Rigby@waterboards.ca.gov

Vacant

But What About MY Water Right? I Don’t Care About Someone Else’s.

Senior Rights
  Water Rights Certificate. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News

Do you have a water right?  Then that is the one you care about.  General information is interesting, but not too useful or relevant.  When it comes down to it, your water right is the one you have to understand eight ways from
Sunday, and your water right is the one you have to defend.

But look at rights from another angle.  What rights do we as citizens of the United States all have, that we all really need to know?  Every U.S. citizen wants to be able to say what he wants, go to church or not, and attend political and protest meetings.  Where does it say that the federal government cannot prohibit or compel certain speech, church participation, and attend political meetings?

Of course you know that these rights are protected by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Most of us learned this before we got

http://www.educationviews.org/law-protect-free-speech-top-churchman/
Free Speech Protest. Photo Credit: educationviews.org

to high school.  482 short words protect your and my freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition; right to keep and bear arms; right not to be forced to quarter soldiers; freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, freedom from being tried twice for the same allegation; rights of accused persons, (speedy and public trial); right of trial by jury in civil cases; freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments; other rights of the people; powers reserved to the states.

Imagine having your house searched and not knowing what rights protect you.  How could you demand that soldiers do not forcibly enter your home, without

Warrant Sign, Photo Credit: 24hourbrowardbailbonds.com
Warrant Sign, Photo Credit: 24hourbrowardbailbonds.com

any knowledge of the 3rd Amendment?  Or, imagine being arrested during a traffic stop because you refused to let police search your vehicle.  What if you didn’t know anything about the 4th Amendment, which protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures?  How quickly life, liberty, and property can be lost when the accused does not know his or her constitutional rights!

How does this relate to water rights?  Who knows, you or one of your family might buy land with a different kind of water right.  If you have a summary understanding of water rights, you’ll be in a lot better place to know what the right is worth, how much water you might really get, and when.  What if an attorney or a government agency tells you that your property lost its water right – how could you even know you have an argument without some basic understanding?  Even when landowners get legal help, it can be pretty expensive…where knowing in advance could save hassle, time, and money.

One of my earlier posts has a bullet list that can be memorized, or printed on a card for a wallet or purse:

  1. Riparian – a parcel that touches a stream, spring or lake may use a ” reasonable and beneficial” amount, quantity and rate undefined, per the California Constitution.
  2. Rancho rights granted by the government of Spain or Mexico, prior to Statehood in 1850.
  3. Pueblo rights, the one belonging to Los Angeles being famous.
  4. Appropriative in 1913 and prior, aka “pre-1914”, for parcels not touching a body of water, which started with gold mining and is now mostly for agriculture.
  5. Post-1914 appropriative rights  issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.
  6. Adjudicated, or decreed, from Federal District or State Superior Court.
  7. Groundwater from a well, similar to surface water riparian but for the overlying land.
  8. Prescriptive, which isn’t a definite right until decreed by a court.
  9. Contracts, which are not rights but rely on some already-existing right(s).

Please leave a comment, correction, complaint, humor, or other message below:

For comparison purposes, here is the United States Bill Of Rights, conveniently available on the home page of the Bill Of Rights Institute:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the

U.S. Constitution, Photo Credit: constitution.org
U.S. Constitution, Photo Credit: constitution.org

government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Update – Worried about SB 88? That’s the problem I solve for you!

Worried about SB 88?  That’s what this blog is for!  Here is where you will find information you need, and can put to use, on selecting and installing flow measurement devices.  If you need help, Rights To Water Engineering can help you meet the law quickly and at a relatively low cost.  (530) 526-0134

California Senate Bill 88 is effective as of January 1, 2016.  Here is the part that affects private or small agricultural diverters the most:

SB88_Art3_Clip

Here is a convenient table that summarizes the Water Board‘s more specific regulations.  I added the two columns on the right to give folks an idea of how the volumes relate to water rights:

SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)
SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)