Water Transfers

Water Transfer Activity
Voluntary water transfers assist in supplementing water supply portfolios for areas experiencing water scarcity. The volume of water transfers in the state has grown over the last 20 years, and since 2005, the annual totals have ranged from 1.2 to 1.7 million acre-feet.

Department of Water Resources
DWR is one of several public agencies involved in approval and management of proposed water transfers in California, and DWR's involvement is due to its management of the State Water Project export facilities in the Delta. DWR's jurisdiction is limited to transfers affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta export facilities of the State Water Project.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
The Central Valley Project Improvement Act authorizes all individuals or districts who receive CVP water under water service or repayment contracts, water rights settlement contracts or exchange contracts to transfer, subject to certain terms and conditions, all or a portion of the water subject to such contract to any other California water users or water agency, State or Federal agency, Indian Tribe, or private non-profit organization for project purposes or any purpose recognized as beneficial under applicable State law. The basic doctrine of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Federal Government to use all practicable means and measures to protect environmental values. For any proposed Federal action, Federal agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation prepare a NEPA compliance document to provide this full disclosure to the public.

State Water Resources Control Board
The State Water Board regulates temporary and long-term water transfers of post-1914 appropriative water rights from individuals, water districts and water agencies to South-of Delta purchasers and transfers among parties within local watersheds. For a CVP contractor to transfer water to a SWP contractor outside the CVP service area (or vice-versa), the transferring water right holder (either the US Bureau of Reclamation or the Department of Water Resources) must petition the State Water Board for a change in the water rights.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
As trustee for California's fish and wildlife resources, the CDFW has jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitat necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species. The California Water Code requires that when considering the appropriation of water, the State Water Board consult with CDFW on the amounts of water needed for fish and wildlife. CDFW staff reviews applications to appropriate new sources of water, to change existing uses of water, and to transfer water.