eWRIMS Board Water Rights Search – Part 3

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”:eWRIMS_search_dialog_Met - Edited 2

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:eWRIMS_search_results_Owner_Met - Edited

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:Permit_Summary - Edited 2

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.

Permit_7641_firstpage - Edited

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:SB_SOU_Sum - Edited

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:

Santa_Barbara_SOU - Edited

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

eWRIMS Board Water Rights Search – Part 2

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 Water_Board_eWRIMS_screenshotdatabase.  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 pageWater Rights Records Search screenshot - Edited.  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 Hayfork Creek Trinityany 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.

eWRIMS GIS Hayfork - EditedIf “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!

AllWaterRights Blog Moving To ShawnPike.com / eWRIMS Board Water Rights Search – Part 1

The AllWaterRights Blog is Moving!  http://www.shawnpike.com is my permanent site, and as soon as I get the formatting done all the new posts will be over there.

In the meantime, how does someone search for water rights in California?  It used to be an onerous task – and today it is only half-onerous.  🙂  Actually the Water Board gets more information every day and puts it into the Electronic Water Rights Information Management System – eWRIMS for short (pronouncedWater_Board_eWRIMS_screenshot ee-rims).  This screenshot shows the two important links.  The first is to the database, which gives text tables of results and links to some form-entered documents, and some scanned documents.  The second link goes to the geographic information system (GIS), which consists of mapped points linked to the database, on top of reference maps.

What can you find here?  In short, nearly all the post-1914 appropriative Water Rights Applications, Permits, and Licenses can be found here.  Most of the pre-1914 appropriative, and an increasing number of riparian water rights can be found here.  The 2009 water laws that increased reporting requirements and greatly increased penalties, moved most water right holders who had not been filing, to get on the train and avoid the pain.  If you search with no parameters, then the database returns a listing of all records, over 52,000 right now.eWRIMS_query_all_edited

What’s missing?  Nearly all adjudicated water rights are not found on eWRIMS.  There are thousands of rights defined in numerous Superior Court Decrees, that are not found in the database.  Statements of Use are filed for these rights, but not in a form that is easy to put into eWRIMS.  Where could you find these?  We’ll cover that in future posts.

http://www.shawnpike.com is up and running, right now with the brief front page.  More to come soon!  A good night to all.