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Governor Newsom Waives Permitting and CEQA for Diversion of Flood Waters from March 10 to June 1, 2023, with Conditions

Governor Newsom Waives Permitting and CEQA for Diversion of Flood Waters from March 10 to June 1, 2023, with Conditions

(Updated March 23, 2023)

In effort to enhance the recharge of depleted groundwater aquifers, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-4-23 (the "Order") and set aside normal permitting and environmental compliance requirements for the diversion of flood waters.Specifically, water right applications and permits, lake and streambed alteration agreements, and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") are waived for certain qualifying diversions of water.

In order to take advantage of the Order, diversions of water must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Diversion must occur between March 10 and June 1, 2023;
  • An agency downstream of the point of diversion must have given notice of an imminent risk of flooding and inundation; and
  • Diversions must cease when flood conditions abate to point where there is no longer a risk of flooding and inundation.

Diversions must additionally not be to: dairy land; agricultural fields were pesticide or fertilizer applications have occurred within last 30 days; areas that could cause damage to levees or drinking or wastewater facilities; areas that have not been in active irrigated cultivation within past 3 years including grazing and grasslands (groundwater recharge facilities excepted). Diversions must also not use new permanent infrastructure or construction, and "simple screens" are required on pump intakes.

Further, reporting is required. A diverter must file a preliminary report with the State Water Resources Control Board and the local groundwater sustainability agency, if applicable, not later than 14 days after diversion commences, along with a final report by June 15, 2023. The report must include the identity of the diverter, the conditions that allow the diversion under the Order, the GPS coordinates of the point of diversion, a map showing inundated area along with corresponding county Assessor Parcel Numbers, the time periods when diversions occurred, and the estimated quantity of flows diverted. All reports will be posted on Water Board's website. The Order also specifies that the Water Board shall use its enforcement authorities to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Order.

If you have any questions or concerns about how these actions affect you, please contact David Cameron or the Hanson Bridgett Water Law Group.

For More Information, Please Contact:

David Cameron
David Cameron
Sacramento, CA