A word on all the information discussed in this blog so far – it is all publicly available. It is not all on the Internet, but it can be obtained by going to the right office or court.
For example, the South Cow Decree is available from the Board’s website. That’s great! However, last I checked, the maps are not available online, so a call to the Board might get you a copy or more likely, scanned PDFs of the maps.
If that doesn’t work, then a trip to the Shasta County Superior Court will be necessary. This particular decree is not kept in a spot where a requester can wait in line. A request has to be filled out, and then you go in a few days later, review the case box(es), note which pages you want copied, and pay for copies.
My last post (Permits and Licenses) listed what information is available on the Board’s website. Additional information might be obtained with a phone call to the right person but folks at the Board usually have 5 times as much assigned as what they can get done. A visit to Sacramento might be necessary to get all the info.
Ownership information is also publicly available. It can be searched for free at the County Assessor Office, and in some counties, searched online, showing owners and sometimes even maps. Various private companies make ownership information available, which is really handy if you want to know the owners and mapping of 10…or 100…or 1,000 parcels. ParcelQuest is an excellent company, at parcelquest.com. They have various purchase plans and subscriptions; last I checked, anybody with a credit card can get a subscription for $100/month ($150/month premium plan) and query and download ownership in any of California’s 58 counties.
I agree, it is unsettling just how much information is quickly available on each of us and our possessions. Much of the information is free, and what isn’t can be had a little cost. On the other hand, if you are trying to figure out what your existing water right is, or what the water rights are for land you might purchase, you can figure out half of it online in a few hours time.