Why Should I Measure Flows If My Neighbors Don’t?

Why should I measure my surface water diversions if others on the same stream do not?

Unmeasured_Ditch

Installation of a device costs time and money, maybe thousands of dollars and a few days plus the use of a loader.  Sometimes the unspoken question is, if I am getting more than my water right, why should I hold myself to just diverting what is legally mine?  None of the readers of this blog would ask that, but some others out there might.

This is something like the question, why should I drive the speed limit if some or most oCHP_resizedf the other drivers are speeding?  We have all seen the answer – speeders eventually get pulled over by police or highway patrol, while those who stay close to the speed limit generally get left alone.  I’ll bet that you’re like me- I am a lot more relaxed after driving within the limits, then if I put the pedal to the metal and get somewhere an hour earlier.

50 years ago, many diversions were in the middle of nowhere and the only way there was past a protective landowner or manager.  Now roads have pushed out to the middle of nowhere and so have Google Earth, recent aerial mapping, government regulations, and government employees.

Shawn_Sticking_Weir

In the world of water diversions, the water district, ditch tender, watermaster, or Water Board folks know who is complying with the law and who is not.  The one who has a measurement device and stays within his water rights tends to get left alone.  On the other hand, the law-abiding diverter gets listened to more when he or she complains that he’s not getting the water he should.winning-trophy

Social influence – peer pressure – also come into play after the first person on a stream installs and starts using a measurement device.  The fact that a neighbor invested and did the right thing to comply with water laws encourages other diverters to do the same.  Or at least, the water right holders who don’t have a weir or meter can see that it is inevitable and they’ll be more readily convinced to do the same.

Sometimes a diverter is not getting thesunflower full water right, even though he thinks he is.  In this case, being able to measure the water means being able to demonstrate that when the diversion is increased, it is still within the legal amount. I have seen this happen a few times, and the result is a rancher or farmer who is a whole lot happier than he or she was last week!

Not Small: Water Board Fines

When California diverters think of water laws, the ESA comes to mind first .  Water Board fines, while rare, will be used more in the next few years.

StateWaterBoardHomePage

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) are the first environmental laws that come to mind for diverters in California.  Streams with Chinook salmon or Steelhead trout are of the greatest concern, since they may be in any creek or river that eventually drains into the Pacific Ocean.  Most diverters have heard that a “take” of a federal endangered species can result in a $50,000 fine and up to a year imprisonment – and that’s possible for the death of just one fish.

However, there are penalties more directly related to the diversion of water, not just environmental laws.  The California Water Code specifies fines or jail that the State Water Board can impose, for falsely reporting a diversion, failing to file a statement, or tampering with a measurement device.  These fines have rarely been imposed in past years.  Usually diverters will take the opportunity to correct problems after the first warning.

With the Board’s increased focus on measurement devices being installed and certified, and and diversion amounts being reported much more often, the likelihood of fines being assessed goes up.

  • Willful misstatement (lying):  $1,000 plus up to 6 months in jail
  • Failing to file a statement:  $1,000 plus $500 per day
  • Accidental device malfunction or misstatement:  $250 plus $250 per day
  • Knowingly tampering or making misstatement:  $25,000 plus $1,000 per day
  • Any other violation:  $500 plus $250 per day

These can add up if the Board’s initial letters are ignored.  What’s the best strategy?  Work with the Board, seek government funding to help defray installation costs if funds are available, and make sure the end result satisfies the Board’s requirements.

California Water Code Section 5107

5107.  (a) The making of any willful misstatement pursuant to this
part is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand
dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not to
exceed six months, or both.
   (b) Any person who fails to file a statement required to be filed
under this part for a diversion or use that occurs after January 1,
2009, who tampers with any measuring device, or who makes a material
misstatement pursuant to this part may be liable civilly as provided
in subdivisions (c) and (d).
   (c) Civil liability may be administratively imposed by the board
pursuant to Section 1055 in an amount not to exceed the following
amounts:
   (1) For failure to file a statement, one thousand dollars
($1,000), plus five hundred dollars ($500) per day for each
additional day on which the violation continues if the person fails
to file a statement within 30 days after the board has called the
violation to the attention of that person.
   (2) For a violation resulting from a physical malfunction of a
measuring device not caused by the person or any other unintentional
misstatement, two hundred fifty dollars ($250), plus two hundred
fifty dollars ($250) per day for each additional day on which the
measuring device continues to malfunction or the misstatement is not
corrected if the person fails to correct or repair the measuring
device or correct the misstatement within 60 days after the board has
called the malfunction or violation to the attention of that person.
   (3) For knowingly tampering with any measuring device or knowingly
making a material misstatement in a statement filed under this part,
twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), plus one thousand dollars
($1,000) for each day on which the violation continues if the person
fails to correct the violation within 30 days after the board has
called the violation to the attention of that person.
   (4) For any other violation, five hundred dollars ($500), plus two
hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each additional day on which the
violation continues if the person fails to correct the violation
within 30 days after the board has called the violation to the
attention of that person.
   (d) When an additional penalty may be imposed under subdivision
(c) for failure to correct a violation or correct or repair a
malfunctioning measuring device within a specified period after the
violation has been called to a person's attention by the board, the
board, for good cause, may provide for a longer period for correction
of the problem, and the additional penalty shall not apply if the
violation is corrected within the period specified by the board.
   (e) In determining the appropriate amount, the board shall
consider all relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to,
all of the following factors:
   (1) The extent of harm caused by the violation.
   (2) The nature and persistence of the violation.
   (3) The length of time over which the violation occurs.
   (4) Any corrective action undertaken by the violator.
   (f) All funds recovered pursuant to this section shall be
deposited in the Water Rights Fund established pursuant to Section
1550.
   (g) Remedies under this section are in addition to, and do not
supersede or limit, any other remedies, civil or criminal.

 

Demo Measuring Weir and Orifice; & Who To Call At The Board?

On January 16, we set up boards, this time videos show measuring flows over a weir and through an orifice!

Simple to set up weirs and orifices

Measuring Weir On Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wOJrWIpPaM

Measuring Orifice On Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wOJrWIpPaM

Last time, on January 16, we looked at how to set up weir and orifice boards in a dry diversion.  This is more exciting – now we’re actually measuring flow over a weir and through an orifice!

Shawn_gesturing_in_fron_of_weir

Shawn_Sticking_WeirStanding in front of the Wigno Weir, getting ready to “stick the weir” with an engineering ruler.  The ruler has inches on one side and tenths and hundredths of a foot on the other side – which is how engineers and surveyors measure the world in English (non-metric) units.
Shawn_pointing_with_rule

 

Shawn_in_front_of_orifice

Sticking the weir with the ruler face-on shows that the depth is 0.31′, the same as the depth in the upstream pool.  The weir is 3.30′ wide and is suppressed or flat-sided – the water does not have to turn the corner while going over the weir.

Shawn_with_rule_in_front_of_orifice

 

 

With these measurements in hand, it’s a quick calculation using the suppressed weir equation:Supp_Weir_Eq_2

to find 1.90 cfs.

Here is the same weir, before being set up with orifice boards.  Flow is measured through a hole instead of over the top of the boards

 

The same engineering ruler is used, but this time measuring from the center of the hole, up to the top of the upstream water surface.

 

Actually, it’s easier to measurefrom the bottom of the hole and subtract off half the height of the hole.  The hole is 1.00′ wide, 0.30′ high, and the water height is 0.25′.

Shawn_with_rule_in_front_of_orifice

This time, the flow is less, at 0.73 cfs, using the equation: Supp_Orifice_Eq  WHY?  I did not wait the 5 minutes it would take for the upstream head to stabilize.  It was cold and about to get dark and the videographer was patient but getting cold.  🙂

A question I hear all the time is, “Hey, I got this letter from the ‘State Water Resources Control Board‘.  What am I supposed to do about measuring my flow?  How do I keep from getting in trouble?”  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.  Since the most 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:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/enforcement/compliance/

Enforcement Program Staff

Katherine Mrowka, Manager
(916) 341-5363
Kathy.Mrowka@waterboards.ca.gov

Enforcement Unit 1 Enforcement Unit 2

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

Paul Wells
(916) 323-5195
Paul.Wells@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

Samuel Cole
(916) 341-5345
Samuel.Cole@waterboards.ca.gov

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

Enforcement Unit 3 Enforcement Unit 4

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

Stephanie Ponce
(916) 319-8107
Stephanie.Ponce@waterboards.ca.gov

How Can You Keep Up With The Water Board?

SWRCB_EmailSub_Header

How can anyone keep up with all the new regulations from the California Water Board?  Subscribe to the email lists affecting you (links below).

It’s impossible to keep up with everything, so we have to pick and choose.  But the pace of Water Board regulations is already jet-speed and headed toward hypersonic.  It’s wise for everyone who diverts surface water to subscribe to relevant email lists and then at least scan the ones that look important.  The link for all Water Board Subscriptions is:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/

The link for statewide issues is below.  I think I counted 174 possible email lists, but you can probably pick the 10 that affect you the most and keep up pretty well by reading these:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/swrcb_subscribe.shtml

Of course, AllWaterRights.com, this blog, will highlight the most important issues for surface water diversion measurement, water rights, laws, and regulations.  Come back often and you’ll see one or two new posts each week.  🙂

As a bonus for those of you who read this post, here are a couple of Death Valley photos my wife and I took last weekend.  This year there is a super bloom!  Last year was very wet, DeathValleySuperBloomand while we were there were good showers in several parts of the valley.

There is also stunningly beautiful geology, with colors ranging from white to black, and in between amazing hues of green, red, blue, orange, yellow, purple….  It’s the first time we had ever been there in daylight and we want to go back.  If it is raining in Death Valley, that bodes well for all of California this year.DeathValleyGeology_2

Good night all, and enjoy the rain and snow!

Board Updates Proposed Regs March 2

March 2, the California Water Board has updated the proposed regulations for measurement of surface water diversions.  You have to move fast to beat the comment deadline!

The notice is required to be given “…at least five working days prior to submission of a proposed emergency action to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).  Then, “After the submission of the proposed emergency to OAL, OAL shall allow interested persons five calendar days to submit comments on the proposed emergency regulations as set forth in Government Code section 11349.6. This document provides the required notice.”  I haven’t called to check, but this could mean there are only 4 more days, until either March 6 (Sunday) or March 8 if “days” are M-F.

The definition of qualified persons is expanded, which will greatly help people with small diversions to comply at less cost, and sooner!  Instead of just engineers, now contractors and “professionals” may install and certify measurement devices.  The deadlines are stretched out somewhat – the biggest diversions (equivalent to 1.40 cubic feet per second 24-7-365, or 5.60 cfs for 90 days straight) and storage over 1,000 acre-feet per year have20160302_BdPropReg_AcrcyFreqQualIndvto be done by January 1, 2017 – less than 10 months.  The diversions equivalent to 0.14 – 1.40 cfs year-round, get six more months, to 7/1/2017.  The smallest diversions, 0.014 cfs year-0.14 cfs year-round, get until January 2018.  That makes sense – the Board gets the most bang-for-the-regulations with the large diversions.

In addition, the Board gives some estimated costs, which helps to plan for the expenditures.  It can be expensive, but when done right, devices can last 10, 20, even 40 years in some cases:

20160302_BdPropReg_CostRange

That’s all for now.  If someone already passed along comments that represent your water right interests, that’s great.  If not, you have a few days to make your own comments.

Water Management (Sharing Shortages) In California In the Short and Long Term, Part 2

Continuing from Part 1, why would a groundwater shortage in San Diego affect how much a surface water diverter in Modoc County could use…rather, how much the diverter has to reduce his use?  Where does all groundwateWatercyclesummaryr come from?  Surface water flowing in streams, accumulating in meadows, ponds, and lakes replenishes groundwater, whether it takes a year, 3 years, or 20 years.
Rainfall infiltrates (soaks in) until the soil has no more capacity, and then runs off.  Groundwater is directly connected to, and depends on the amount of surface water.

In 2009, just 7 years ago, the California Legislature passed and the Governor signed Senate Bills 1, 6, 7, and 8.  These new laws required:

In 2013, 4 short years later, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed.  This is a gigantic change in state groundwater laws – 515 groundwater basins in California are now prioritized based on overdraft, increased groundwater pumping, and falling groundwater levels; or conversely, the health of groundwater basins – some are hardly even touched.  On this map, now everybody can see what was neCASGEM_BasinPrioritization_Statewidearly invisible 2 years ago – the state of our groundwater basins.

About 2/3 of California’s water falls in the northern 1/3 of the State.  However, most of the good agricultural land, as well as most of its population, is in that drier 2/3 of the State.

Back to San Diego potentially affecting how much water can be diverted in Modoc County…does San Diego even have a groundwater basin?  Yes it does, along the Sweetwater River.  Of course this isn’t hydrologically connected to drainage from the Pit River in Modoc County; the Pit River ultimately eCASGEM_BasinPrioritization_SanDiegonters the Pacific Ocean in the Sacramento River-San Joaquin River Delta, and the Sweetwater enters the ocean on the shores of the City of San Diego.

Think about it:  7 short years ago, groundwater was mostly a mystery to 90% of folks, and surface water management was hardly “integrated”, except for the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), State Water Project (SWP), and some relatively small projects.  20 years from now?  Heck, that’s 2036; I’ll bet that, just continuing the –> trajectory –> of legislation that started in 2009, by 2030 (14 years from now), surface water and groundwater will be so connected and co-managed, that shortages in San Diego will require diversions to be reduced from where the water is in those northernmost Counties contributing to the Sacramento River drainage:  Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, part of Lassen, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, and Plumas.  I put in print so we can check my prognostications down the road.  You heard it here first!

Maybe that sounds paranoid or protective.  It’s not, I would think the same whether I lived in Crescent City, San Francisco, Susanville, Oroville, Bakersfield, or San Dimas.  After all, who would have thought in 2007 or 2008, that we would be integrating surface water use, looking at groundwater maps in syndicated newspapers, hearing of possible  fines of $25,000 for misreporting surface water diversion in the middle of nowhere…?

That’s all for now, by the end of the week we’ll be back to discussing the many aspects of the diversion of surface water.  Have a good night, everybody.

Water Management (Sharing Shortages) In California In the Short and Long Term, Part 1

san_diego_sdskyline14_smCalifornia surface water and groundwater laws are increasing controls rapidly, and the changes aren’t over yet.  The end result will likecreek_through_meadow_smallly be that shortages in San Diego will reduce how much a license holder in Modoc County can take.  It will probably take 20 years for the full effect…but 20 years is a lot faster than it used to be for farmers, ranchers, cities, and the environment.

How does this work?  It is harder to see from the surface water side.  How are the two ends of the State even connected, hydrologically?  Some diverters up around Alturas divert from the Pit River, which flows into Shasta Lake on the Sacramento River, which flows to the Delta, from which water is pumped by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).  Actually, DWR diverts water released from Lake Oroville on the Feather River, but that water joins the Sacramento River at Verona, before it gets to the Delta.Central_valley_project-01_wiki

The federal water goes to the San Joaquin Valley, which is the southern end of the Great Central Valley and salad bowl of California.  The USBR Central Valley Project (CVP) coordinates to some extent with the California State Water Project (SWP).

CVP_State_water_project_wiki

 

 

 

The state water goes partly to the San Joaquin Valley, and mostly over the Tehachapi Range to the Los Angeles Basin.  Where the water goes from the CVP and SWP is carefully controlled by water rights and contracts.

 

wiki_800px-Well_spudder_8606

What we don’t see with our own eyes is the groundwater picture.  Groundwater pumping has dramatically increased during the last few years of drought, as news articles have made clear.  Nobody’s groundwater rights are affected by the new groundwater laws, but every groundwater basin either has or will soon have a local management agency of some type.  Maps of groundwater shortages will be in news articles, online, and where every citizen of California can see them.  This is part 1 of a several-part post on how in the world, or in this case the state, groundwater shortages in the extreme South will affect surface water diversions way up in the North.

How Good Is Good Enough? Water Board Required Accuracy of Your Measurement Device

How accurate does your measurement device have to be?  The Water Board gives those numbers in the Fact Sheet at http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2016/pr12016_measurement.pdf; see the bottom of this post for the excerpt on accuracy.

When talking about new weirs, orifices, flumes, mag-meters, and acoustic Doppler devices, plus or minus (+/-) 5% accuracy is expected of new, properly installed, regularly maintained, correctly operated devices.  What does that mean?  If your diversion rate is measured at 1.00 cubic feet per second (cfs), then you would expect the true value to be between 0.95 and 1.05 cfs.  If your diversion rate is 5.00 cfs, then the true value would be between 4.75 and 5.25 cfs.  The total accuracy is 10%, we just don’t know if measured values are really up to 5% less, or 5% more than calculated.

New devices might actually have better accuracy than +/- 5%.  Engineers never count on that because a bunch of factors, known and unknown, can stealthily make the accuracy worse.  Accuracy also depends on the measurer – some are better than others, some are better trained and experienced, and most take the job seriously but some do not.

Of course, accuracy gets worse as measurement devices age.  Why does this happen?  There are a number of reasons:

  • Settling, so the device is not level front to back, or side to side, or both
  • Cracking, so water leaks out, or the cracked wall is not straight (planar)
  • Wear, spalling, chipping, and other roughening in the device floor and walls
  • The ditch fills in downstream, causing submergence
  • Old boards that warp and leak
  • Installed staff gages wear, making them harder to read correctly
  • Etc.

The USBR Water Measurement Manual has 14 chapters, and all of Chapter 3 discusses accuracy in great detail.  That’s the “Bible” of water measurement so we would expect it to be, well, accurate in its discussion of accuracy.

http://www.usbr.gov/tsc/techreferences/mands/wmm/index.htm

It is not clear to me yet whether the Board’s accuracy numbers are +/- values, meaning the allowed accuracy is +/- 15% for diversions less than 100 acre-feet (AF) per year, and +/- 10% for diversions greater than 10 AF per year.  If so, that seems reasonable because that allows for some aging of measurement devices.  Otherwise, the Board would expect measurement devices to always be in new condition for diversions greater than 100 AF per year or storage greater than 200 AF per year.  That would be pretty expensive!

That brings up the subject of money – accuracy requirements hit your pocketbook.  First you have to either install or pay for a measurement device to be installed.  Hopefully the device will last 20 to 30 years, but high flows, getting walked on by cattle, freezing and thawing, settling faster than expected, and other events can wear them out faster.  The replacement cycle might be 10 years for some diversions, or even 5 if wear and tear is bad.

Board_FactSheet_MeasurementAccuracy

This post may be more than most people want to read on the subject of accuracy.  Still, it’s a lot shorter than Chapter 3 of the Water Measurement Manual!

That’s all for now, have a great rest of the week.

Summary of Water Rights, Flow Measurement Posts So Far

There have been 25 posts so far, on the types of California surface water rights, flow measurement devices, and how to measure diverted flows.  You’ll see new posts once or twice a week.  Please send suggestions for post topics!  We have discussed:

  1. All Water Rights, California
  2. Read Me My Rights (How do you know if you have a water right?)
  3. Reasonable And Beneficial Use Depends On Who You Are
  4. The Smartest Water Expert In California (Chuck Rich)
  5. Riparian Rules by Chuck Rich
  6. Water Rights – Why Do They Exist? Which Kinds Are There?
  7. Water Rights And Engineers
  8. California Water Right Holders Now Required To Have Measuring Device
  9. What Is Your Place Of Use?  (Where can you legally use your right?)
  10. Places Of Use – Adjudicated (Decreed) In The State Superior Court
  11. A Place For Permits And Licenses (Places of Use)
  12. Nothing Secret About It  (This is all public information.)
  13. Quick Change of Subjects: What’s a Water Right Permit Cost?
  14. Life Of Reilly: If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It!
  15. How to Divide Up a Decreed Water Right – Part 1
  16. How to Divide Up a Decreed Water Right – Part 2
  17. Weirs – Planning, Building, Measuring Flows
  18. From weir to orifice in only an hour
  19. Chilean Water Rights at (darn near) the Driest Place on Earth
  20. Some Hope in Rain and Snow Totals
  21. Is John Stealing Water?? Orifices – Right Size and How to Measure
  22. Worried about SB 88? That’s what this blog is for! Get a device in, send a photo to the Board, record and report your diversions
  23. Flumes – installing for decades of flow measurement, Part 1
  24. Simple Weirs and Orifices, on video, and in photos!
  25. Diverters must report weekly, daily, or HOURLY starting 2017!

Diverters must report weekly, daily, or HOURLY starting 2017!

SWRCB_Header

So on Tuesday, January 20, “The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted regulations Tuesday evening requiring all surface water right holders and claimants to report their diversions. Those who divert more than 10 acre-feet of water per year must also measure their diversions.”  Click the logo above to see the 2-page document on the Board’s website.

Well, how bad can it be?  Before January 20, most diverters had to report monthly diversions, so 12 volumes per year, plus the annual total.  That’s 13 numbers.  The required frequency a year from now will be increased quite a bit, to weekly, or daily, or hourly:

For instance, large diverters with a claimed right to take 1,000 acre feet of water or more per year are required to have a measuring device or measuring method capable of recording at least hourly in place by Jan. 1, 2017; those with claimed rights to divert 100 acre feet or more must comply by July 1, 2017 and record at least daily; and those with claimed rights to divert more than 10 acre feet must comply by Jan. 1, 2018 and record at least weekly.

How can flows even be reported hourly?  See the end of this post.  What if someone decides to skip reporting, and let the Board catch up with them later?  The FINES can be large enough to hurt – we’ll discuss this in a later post.

At the minimum reporting requirement of weekly, the volume is 10 acre feet (AF) to 100 AF.  What is 10 AF in terms of a seasonal agricultural diversion?  All the flows shown below are year-round; if the diversion only runs seasonally, the actual water right might be 2 to 10 times the calculated amount, depending on how long the season is and when the stream dries up.

10 AF  =  0.014 cubic feet per second (cfs) year-round, or 6.2 gallons per minute (gpm).  That’s a domestic right, enough for a family house, garden, and perhaps 15 trees or a yard.

100 AF = 0.140 cfs, or 62 gpm year-round.  Depending on soil, this is enough for 3 to 15 acres of pasture or hay, maybe 15 cows or steers, or maybe 30 acres of a mature walnut orchard with micro-sprinklers.  This is enough for a little extra money, still not enough to support a family.About_1.4_cfs_over_weir_edited_2_small

1,000 AF = 1.40 cfs or 620 gpm year-round.  This is enough for 30 to 150 acres of pasture or hay, or maybe 300 acres of orchard.  Water in this quantity could support a family and would be considered a ranch or farm.  The 4′ weir above has about 1.4 cfs going over it.  As mentioned above, if this diversion only runs 6 months of the year, and really only gets the full flow for 3 months, then the actual continuous water right might be 5 cfs.  It might be easier to reverse the thinking: a 5 cfs right might run at 5 cfs for 3 months,  3 cfs for a month, 2 cfs for 2 months, and be off the rest of the year.  That’s closer to a 2 cfs right year-round, or about 1,400 AF per year.

How is flow measured HOURLY?  The only practical ways to do this used to be an old mechanical recorder, like a Stevens F Recorder (pen on paper on rotating drum) you can still see on some creeks.

More likely today, it will require a battery-powered pressure transducer set inside a 2″ pipe bolted on the side of the weir, or headwall, or other permanent structure.  These cost from $400 to $1,200 or more, depending on the brand and more importantly, quality.  The higher the quality, the less they have to be checked, and have dirt removed from the bottom sensor.  The maintenance can be significant – in warm water with algae, the sensor might have to be cleaned once a week.  If it’s not maintained…well, then at some point it stops recording that data that the Board requires.

WaterLevelLogger_wl300_1

Here’s one that would do the job, from http://www.globalw.com/ products/levelsensor.html.  It sits there and records water levels night and day, for months at a time before it has to be downloaded to a computer.  The data file that is downloaded is what is actually sent to the Board – a spreadsheet of flows for 6 months would be half an inch think and unusable!

That’s enough for now, a good night to you all.