Welcome to the State Water Resources Control Board Welcome to the California Environmental Protection Agency
Governor's Website Visit the Water Board Members Page
My Water Quality
Performance Report
Drinking Water Program

Division of Drinking Water Programs

The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) regulates public drinking water systems. DDW consists of three branches:

  1. The Northern California Field Operations Branch
  2. The Southern California Field Operations Branch, and
  3. The Program Management Branch

envelope  Subscribe to our email lists.  See the "Drinking Watersection.



Northern California & Southern California Field Operations Branches (FOBs)

Here is a map of FOB districts and office contact information (PDF).

The FOBs are responsible for the enforcement of the federal and California Safe Drinking Water Acts (SDWAs) and the regulatory oversight of ~7,500 public water systems to assure the delivery of safe drinking water to all Californians. In this capacity, FOB staff perform field inspections, issue operating permits, review plans and specifications for new facilities, take enforcement actions for non-compliance with laws and regulations, review water quality monitoring results, and support and promote water system security. In addition, FOB staff are involved in funding infrastructure improvements, conducting source water assessments, evaluating projects utilizing recycled treated wastewater, and promoting and assisting public water systems in drought preparation and water conservation.

FOB staff work with their colleagues in the Waterboards and with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as a wide variety of other parties interested in the protection of drinking water supplies. FOB staff work closely with staff of the Division of Financial Assistance on funding for public water systems.

On the local level, 30 of the 58 county environmental health departments in California, also known as Local Primacy Agencies (LPA), have been delegated the authority to regulate all public water systems within their jurisdiction that have less than 200 service connections. These 30 LPAs regulate small water systems to ensure these systems are delivering adequate and safe drinking water. The DDW FOB and Headquarters staff work with LPA personnel by assisting with regulatory oversight, technical assistance, and training. [Map of the LPA counties] [LPA Contact Information]

Program Management Branch

The Program Management Branch collects analytical results from laboratories, compiles, evaluates, and reports drinking water quality data from laboratories that monitor drinking water for public water systems, and meets the US EPA's data reporting requirements under primacy. It also coordinates emergency response and associated training, and advises staff and management on scientific and technical matters associated with drinking water contaminants. Branch staff develop the Safe Drinking Water Plan for California, and oversee the Drinking Water Watch website

Within the Branch are the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Section and the Technical Operations Section.

The Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Section

The Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) provides evaluation and accreditation of environmental testing laboratories to ensure the quality of analytical data used for regulatory purposes to meet the requirements of the State's drinking water, wastewater, shellfish, food, and hazardous waste programs. The State agencies that monitor the environment use the analytical data from these accredited laboratories. ELAP-accredited laboratories have demonstrated capability to analyze environmental samples using approved methods. Detailed information is available on the ELAP website.

Technical Operations Section

The Technical Operations Section prepares the Annual Compliance Report for the US EPA; analyzes proposed drinking water-related legislation; provides information and reports on fluoridation by public water systems and oversees the Drinking Water Additives Program, which provides technical assistance regarding approval of chemical additives for drinking water treatment and development of test standards.  The Section also coordinates the Drinking Water Source Assessment and Protection (DWSAP) Program and assists the FOBs and LPAs in implementing source water assessment and protection measures.

The Section administers other activities of its programs through the following units. Click on a link for contact information.

  • The Small Water System Support Unit (Webpage is currently under revision), which provides technical assistance to small water systems to ensure their compliance with drinking water regulations, and administers the local primacy delegation program for such systems.

  • The Residential Water Treatment Device Registration Unit is responsible for ensuring that residential water treatment devices sold for purifying water meet appropriate standards.

  • The Regulatory Development Unit develops regulations pertaining to drinking water and to recycled water, as it relates to drinking water. It also provides templates for public notification for water systems.

  • The Recycled Water Unit develops water recycling criteria and regulations, evaluates water recycling projects and makes recommendations to RWQCBs about public health implications, and maintains an Alternative Treatment Technology Report for recycled water.

  • The Treatment Technology Unit reviews and evaluates new treatment technologies or expansion of operations of existing treatment technologies in drinking water and recycled water applications, and assists FOB staff in assessing proposed treatment facilities. Please see more information on the process for approval of treatment technology.

Public Water Systems and Other DDW Links

Additional Drinking Water-Related Information

DDW Contact Information

Other Water-Related Topics

Information on Transfer of the Drinking Water Program to the State Water Board



(Updated 9/13/17)