Water Board Posted Measurement Fair Documents on Water Use Page

Just a quick update – the Water Board has posted the draft alternative compliance and other forms on its website! Thank you Kathy Mrowka, Paul Wells, and Michael George.

Go get the drafts, comment on them, and send your comments to the Board. The slide shows are also posted as PDFs. The Delta presentation is very useful and worth your time to read it.

I have not checked to see if the video recordings of the presentations are recorded yet. They will be; you might get a better understanding watching the Q&A parts of those.

Have a great weekend!


Flash! Water Board Measurement Fair NEWS

The Water Board Measurement Fair
was today, from 10 – 4 at the 
EPA building in Sacramento!

The Board had lots of new information.  The morning sessions revealed:

  • Watermaster Service Areas are exempt from most of this, if the Watermaster reports monthly diversions, once a year, to the Water Board or a Superior Court.
  • The Water Board staff “have a range of options in working to resolve
    Cal EPA Building. Photo credit: library.ca.gov

    disagreements” about whether diversions comply with new regulations, according to Kathy Mrowka and attorney Nathan…did not catch his last name.  That means a diverter can reason with Board staff.

  • The draft Alternative Compliance form is out!  Not online yet, so here is a black-and-white PDF for your use now: SWRCB_DRAFT_Alternative_Compliance_bw.pdf.  I think I heard correctly that Alternative Compliance Plans are good for 5 years, and then they must be revisited.
  • All diversions over 10 AF, up to 10,000 AF, report annually to the Water Board, with exceptions below.  Monthly flow volumes are reported; data collected weekly, daily, or hourly, are to be kept by the diverter but not reported unless the Board requests it.

    Kathy Mrowka (3rd from right) wins the 2015 award for management of the complex drought evaluations. Photo credit: waterboards.ca.gov
  • Telemetry will be required starting in 2020, for 1) diversions over 10,000 AF, 2) diversions of 30 cfs between June 1 and September 30, or 3) diversions of over 20 % of flows Board-identified streams with species of concern.  Telemetered diversions must be reported weekly online – since this doesn’t start for 3-1/4 years, the Board will announce later how it is to be reported.
  • There were lots of vendors with hundreds of possible solutions to measure flows.  Costs are coming down and manufacturers are getting more innovative.  They still cost money though – the rule is, the more spent on devices, the better they will work for years, with less hassle.  Less up-front cost means more maintenance, more upkeep.  No surprise there, that’s how it is for trucks, houses, tractors, and computers.
Delta Watermaster Michael Patrick George. Photo credit: waterboards.ca.gov

In the afternoon, Delta Watermaster Michael Patrick George gave a great presentation on the progress of Delta regulations.  Some of the main points are:

  • There are 2,800 diversions, and measurement and reporting compliance is proceeding nicely.
  • Delta diverters are recognizing that measuring device compliance, although it can be costly, is the easiest thing to do.
  • Alternative compliance rules are in place and working!  Mr. George’s slide show is not online yet, but soon will be.
  • Mr. George points out that there is one set of rules and laws for the State, although application may be a little different for a flat Delta with tidal flows.  What I believe will happen is that Alternative Compliance for the State will be the same as already exists for the Delta.  This means:  1) the Water Board will not approve or deny, but may comment on Alternative Compliance plans.  2) As long as someone is working Pixabay_water-340468_1280to comply the Water Board will work with the diverter.  The first response from the Board will NOT be a Cease and Desist Order if a diverter is communicating.  3) Plans will be posted online, and so anyone may comment or point out their real or alleged deficiencies.  The effect is that if a diverter says it is too expensive to comply normally and has an ineffective plan, the diverter’s neighbors and state and federal resource agencies will likely complain to the Board that the plan is deficient.
  • Lauren Barva, lauren.barva@waterboards.ca.gov, is the main Water Board staff contact for Delta diverters.  If she does not know the answer, she will make sure a Delta diverter gets an answer from the right person.
  • Paul Wells, paul.wells@waterboards.ca.gov, is the main Water Board staff contact for NON-Delta diverters.  If he does not know the answer, he will make sure a NON-Delta diverter gets an answer from the right person.

Sticking_Weir_zoom_sharpenedKathy Mrowka and Nathan came back and did a great job of explaining how stockponds and other ponds can comply, including the use of staff gages and stage-storage curves.  There will be more information online shortly.

Kathy also discussed the Report Management System (RMS).  She said:

  • All reporting is now online, and the form is standard.  That means regardless of whether you are reporting on your new measurement device, or your monthly diversions, or your stockpond use, the form will be the same.
  • If you have corrections, they can be made any time after the submittal deadline.
  • If you are filling out a form, you can save your entries, leave, and come back and still edit your form up until the time the ‘SUBMIT” button is pressed.
  • The Board is updating their FAQ right now, and they will soon update their “How to Work with the Board” document.

Here is the draft form to request additional time (up to 24 months) to comply:  SWRCB_DRAFT_Request_Addl_Time_bw.pdf

By the way, there is a parking lot right across

Cal EPA Front Enttance.  Photo Credit: Cal EPA

the street from the EPA building, at 10th and I streets.  It was full so I parked out at the City of Sacramento Parking structure at 14th and H; I needed the 4-block-walk for exercise anyway.

That’s enough for now!  I will be out of town for a couple of days, and I will write more then.  A good night to all!

Alternative Compliance Form? Not Yet

I keep getting the question: Is the Water Board‘s Alternative Compliance form available yet?  Not according to the unchanged text at:  Water Rights: Water Use Reports and Measurement.  We were promised it would be online before the Information Fair on Water Measurement and Reporting, so technically the form would still beat the deadline by next Monday (8/22) at 9:59 A.M, or someone might be working on it this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I am hopeful for summer rains!

August 13 Post – Alternative Compliance Form Coming “Soon”


Additonal Wrinkle in June 2016 Stockpond Letter to Assemblymember Dahle

This is old news but it does answer a few questions about stockponds.  Are they different from other diversions?  In the Water Board’s letter of reply to Assemblymember Dahle, the answer is that diversions to stockponds are the same as any other.  If the total diversion to the pond is more than 10 AF/year, then the diversion must be measured, as shown in the excerpt just below.

However, there is an additional wrinkle.  If the total of several rights stored in the pond exceeds 10 AF/year, then all diversion(s) to the pond must beScreenshot 2016-08-14 at 19.59.04 - Editedmeasured.  Although this would be an unusual case, 2 diverters could have small diversions, say 6 AF/year, diverted to the same pond.  Each diversion would have to be measured because, even though each falls under the 10 AF/year threshold, together they total 12 AF/year, exceeding the 10 AF/year limit.  If each diverter had a separate pond, then neither diversion would have to be measured.

This is sort of the same logic the Board uses when several diverters share one ditch.  Even if each right is under one of the threshold levels (10, 100 or 1,000 AF/year), if the summed diversion is over the next higher level, then the next higher requirements apply, either making the compliance date sooner, or requiring higher accuracy and certification.  If each diverter had a separate ditch, then all would remain at the lower level of compliance.

This is an excerpt and link to the Water Rights: Water Use Reports and Measurement web page where the letter to Assemblymember Dahle is linked:


How is a person supposed to keep up with regulations, and make sure they comply?  That is what I do for a living: help you get rid of headaches, upset, and trouble, to comply with State law, make sure you are getting your water right, and cut off complaints from other diverters.  The phone call is free to discuss your diversion,  (530) 526-0134, and email is also free at RightsToWaterEng1@gmail.com.

Alternative Compliance Form Soon…Before Aug. 22 Water Board Info. Fair On Meas. & Reporting

The SB 88 Alternative Compliance form is not out yet.  I was promised it would be out before the August 22 Information Fair On Water Measurement And Reporting in Sacramento.  I will be at the Fair – hopefully we’ll get some more information:

  • What kinds of alternative compliance will be accepted?
  • Is the Board going to send out letters, or make phone calls, starting January 1, to all diverters who do not have certified measurement devices?
  • How does the Board see the compliance time frame in 2017?  For example, will diverters be okay if their devices are installed, logging data, and certified, before they start diverting for the season?

I’ll let you know what I find out.  Have a great weekend!



Accurate, Economical Flume for LARGE Diversions


Photo on the right:  Intermountain Environmental Inc. Nuway Ramp Flume with stilling well, 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) capacity.  Shipped disassembled including fasteners; stilling well not included (but inexpensive to add).

20 cfs irrigates 400 to 2,000 acres of crops, trees, pasture, or hay, depending on where you are.  As a Professional Engineer with wide experience installing and operating flow measurement devices, I can solve your headaches, heartburn, and trouble meeting the Water Board’s Regulations, diverting 20 cfs, for as little as $6,000 with one of these flumes.  These flumes can go in an almost flat ditch, needing a water drop of less than 4″, and still maintaining accuracy of plus or minus 5%, twice what is needed by the Water Board.  Smaller flumes cost less; even larger diversions could use 2 of these side by side.

eTape - EditedFrank Crowe, farmer/rancher and the neighbor of some readers of this blog, has been doing research for 7 months on all possible flow measurement and datalogging devices.  He has found some lower-cost options, including the Nuway flumes, that in past years, I did not think would work well. After checking into them, I know many of these can save Track-it - Editedyou headaches, anguish, trouble, and some money.  Technology has improved and computing costs have come down to make smaller, less expensive data loggers very useful for diversions.  For example, the eTape sensor and Track-It datalogger shown here, and similar equipment from other manufacturers, will work well for many diversions:

Frank checked into the smallest Nuway flume, for 3.5 cfs, and found that the cost is fairly low at $580.  With a size of about 12″ wide, 15″ high, and 48″ long, it will be easy for one person to assemble and would be possible to install by hand, without a backhoe.

Larry Forero, County Director oSWRCB_Alternative_Compliance_Summary - Editedf the Cooperative Extension in Shasta County, has been doing a great job of searching and asking the how diverters can comply with the law economically, particularly through alternative methods.  The “Alternative Compliance” form will be available any day now on the Water Board’s website.  Larry has also been checking on devices, costs, and applicability for particular locations and uses.

Intermountain_Env_Nuway_Flume_Brochure_Photo - Edited

Most diversions will have to comply using standard, accepted methods of measurement and recording data.  Following up on Frank’s reseaIEI_homepage - Editedrch, I contacted Intermountain Environmental, Inc. in Utah and asked Josh Hanks about their 10 cfs and 20 cfs galvanized flumes.   They cost $1,017 and $1,995 respectively.  Shipping would be less than $300. Josh provided detailed information, including how these flumes have performed in the field.  They are designed and built to be plus or minus 5% accurate, well within the Water Board’s regulation of +/- 10% accuracy as certified in the field.  Many installations have worked with soil backfill only, instead of poured concrete.  Installations will probably require a mass-concrete anchor, and may need steel plate inlet wingwall extensions, or outlet wingwalls added.

The bottom line, what does it cost for me to solve your problem, and to purchase, install, attach a datalogger, and certify the device to the satisfaction of the Water Board?  For the largest flume, which can measure up to 20 cfs, in a typical location with vehicle access, I can have these working right, logging data, and certified for you, for $6,000 to $9,000.  Telemetry and/or solar power, if needed or required by the Water Board, could add another $1,000 to $4,000.

Done!  No more headaches, turmoil, or trouble for you, and I will have the pleasure of helping you keeping your business working well.

SB-88 Compliance Information, Nice to Meet Diverters at the NCWA / Farm Bureau / Cattleman Meeting Last Night

Good morning, California diverters.  It was great to meet you folks last night in Hat Creek!  Thank you to Henry and Pam Giacomini and Mark and Debbie Bidwell for inviting me up to the combined meeting of the Northeastern California Water Association, Farm Bureau, and Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations.

This blog is to help solve diverters’ headaches by providing peace of mind and helping stay out of trouble.  Here are some posts aiming to do just that:









The links above will get you halfway to knowing what to do to comply.  The other half is in other blog posts, on water flow measurement devices, how to measure flow, and other topics.  Have a great day and rest of the week!