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State Water Boards: Performance Report

The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2008-09

This first Annual Performance Report arrives as the California Water Boards (Water Boards) reach an important milestone – the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of landmark legislation to protect the State's waters:  the Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act.  The Porter-Cologne Act was a cutting edge water quality law.  Portions of it became the model for the 1972 amendments that invigorated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.  This was a different time with different challenges for the State, but the fundamental elements of our work remain. 

This report offers an overview of the Water Boards’ efforts to protect and allocate the State's waters; and, is part of the Water Boards’ efforts toward developing as performance-based organizations.  In the spirit of moving toward a Water Board "report card," for the second year of the Performance Report, performance targets are being established for some measures of Water Board work. The report relies principally on data that is available through the primary databases used by the Water Boards. As with any first year effort, data availability limits the type of information that is reported. Over time, and with your help, the information presented will better illustrate the work and effectiveness of the Water Boards and the quality of our State's waters.

  • FY 2008-09 - The measures of performance
  • FY 2009-10 - Targets established for selected measures
  • Fact Sheet - Web-Based Annual Performance Report, October 2009

What We Do and How We Are Doing

Performance Report Cover Page
  • Welcome!

      The State and Regional Water Boards are California's regulatory agencies responsible for ensuring that the quality of the State's rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, ocean, and groundwaters is protected. To protect our water resources, the Water Boards set water quality standards in plans and policies, monitor and assess the State's waters, regulate identified pollutant sources, and enforce compliance with regulatory requirements. The State Water Board is solely responsible for providing funding for others' water quality protection activities, allocating surface water rights, and reviewing petitions that contest Regional Water Board actions. more...

  • Plan & Assess

      The State and Regional Water Boards adopt plans and policies to carry out federal and State water quality protection laws. The plans and policies contain water quality standards and regulations, which form the basis of the Water Boards' regulatory actions for protecting the quality of the State's waters. The Water Boards monitor and assess the condition of the waters to determine if they are supporting their uses, detect long-term trends, and focus and evaluate regulatory efforts. more....

  • Regulate

      The State and Regional Water Boards identify the sources of pollutants that threaten the quality of the State's waters and regulate those sources by imposing requirements to control the discharge of pollutants in permits. The permits, called "waste discharge requirements", are based on water quality conditions, and the laws, regulations, plans, and policies designed to protect water quality. To be effective, the Water Boards must ensure that permit requirements are enforceable. Discharger compliance with permits is assessed through the review of waste discharge reports and inspections. Where documented violations of permit requirements occur, the Water Boards are responsible for taking enforcement actions. more...

  • Enforce

      The Water Boards enforce the pollution control and cleanup requirements that are established for discharges and contaminated sites. Where violations of regulatory requirements are detected, enforcement actions of varying types and levels of stringency are taken. For the most serious violations, penalties are often imposed. The Water Boards also collaborate with federal, State, and local law enforcement, as well as other environmental agencies, to address violations. In all cases, the principal goal of enforcement is to encourage compliance with requirements so that water quality is protected. more...

  • Fund

      The State Water Board provides financial assistance through various State and federal loan and grant programs to help local agencies, businesses, and individuals meet the costs of water pollution control, development of locally available sustainable water supplies, and cleanup. This funding is made available for local and regional projects that can include construction of municipal sewage and water recycling facilities, remediation for underground storage tank releases, watershed protection, nonpoint source pollution control, and other water protection projects. more...

  • Allocate Water

      The State Water Board establishes and maintains a system of water rights to help ensure that the State’s limited water resources are put to the best possible use and the public interest is served.  A water right is legal permission to divert and use a reasonable and nonwasteful amount of surface water for a beneficial purpose, such as domestic, irrigation, industrial or recreation.  In allocating water rights, through a system of permits, licenses, and registrations, the State Water Board works to ensure that vested rights, water quality, and the environment are protected.  The State Water Board may also be called upon to adjudicate water for entire systems. more...


What Is The Quality Of The State's Water?

  Ecosystems Health - Water is the most precious natural resource in California and its value depends on its quality. One function of the Water Boards is to assess and report on California's water quality. This link provides an overview of the health of a variety of California's waterbodies: Coastal, Streams, Lakes, and Wetlands.
  My Water Quality This web site, supported by a wide variety of public and private organizations, presents California water quality monitoring data and assessment information from a variety of perspectives that may be viewed across space and time. Initial web portal development concentrates on four theme ares, with web portals to be released one at a time.

Additional Reports and Plans

Strategic Plan  2009 Accomplishments Report







(Updated 9/20/11 )