Water Rights Enforcement

The State Water Board's primary water rights enforcement goal is to encourage compliance with the water rights priority system. This includes taking actions against unauthorized diversions, diversions that adversely impact fish and wildlife, violations of curtailment orders, and more. A general first step in our enforcement is to notify the violator of the problem. Cease and Desist Orders and Administrative Civil Liabilities are the next steps in formal enforcement as appropriate. We issue enforcement actions based on the outcomes of water right complaint and curtailment order violation investigations. Because each enforcement case has unique technical and legal aspects, some cases can take longer to complete than others. For information about specific cases, follow the links below. We regularly update these web pages as key enforcement actions are taken.

Current Focus

After the driest January, February and March on record, most of California is experiencing a severe drought. Because of this, we are focusing our water rights enforcement activities in the six critical watersheds where the Board has issued curtailment orders. Regularly monitoring conditions and taking enforcement actions when necessary are critical for protecting more senior water right holders and the fishery resources that the curtailment orders were designed to protect.

Water Right Complaints

We rely on the public to help identify potential water right violations through the CalEPA Environmental Complaint website. We take water right complaints and the resulting investigations very seriously.

  For more information on the Water Right Complaint Process, please visit the Water Rights Enforcement Complaints webpage.

  To file a water right complaint, please visit the CalEPA Environmental Complaint website.

Additional Water Rights Enforcement Resources