Landowners who extract at least 25 acre-feet of
groundwater from wells in the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino,
Los Angeles and Ventura those areas must file notices of groundwater
extraction by June 30 each year with the State Water Resources Control
Boards Division of Water Rights.
Failure to file a notice is deemed the equivalent of
non-use of water for that year and could result in the loss of water
rights (reference California Water Code
Well owners in the four counties who have not previously
filed groundwater extraction notices will need to file a "First
Notice of Groundwater Extractions" for each well
Groundwater users who pump less than the 25-acre-feet
threshold can also file notices. While the filing is required under
law, the only penalty is the risk of losing a water right. The filing
is a way for groundwater users to establish proof of historic water use
to preserve water rights. If you are a groundwater user but choose not
to file a notice of groundwater extraction, you should maintain written
records with substantiating evidence to document your water use, such
as saving electric bills, records of cropping patterns and so on.
The June 30 deadline applies for the annual report,
for groundwater users who have previously filed reports. A first notice
of groundwater extraction can be filed at any time.
4999. The Legislature finds and declares that
by reason of the combination of light rainfall, concentrated population,
the transition of considerable areas of land from agricultural use to
urban use, and a similar dependence on ground water supplies which
prevails in the Counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles,
and Ventura, together with the fact that most such underground water
supplies are overdrawn, it is necessary that the provisions of this
part apply to said counties only.
5000. As used in this Part 5, the following terms
shall have the respective meanings stated below, viz:
(a) "Ground water" means water beneath the surface of the ground
whether or not flowing through known and definite channels.
(b) "Surface water" means water on the surface of the ground.
(c) "Four counties" means the Counties of Riverside, San
Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Ventura.
(d) "Person" means all persons whether natural or artificial,
including the United States of America, the State of California, and
all political subdivisions, districts, municipalities and public
agencies of or in either the State or the United States.
(e) "Sources" means any point of diversion or extraction of
and includes among other things wells, tunnels, and headworks.
5001. Each person who, after 1955, extracts
ground water in excess of 25 acre-feet in any year shall file with the
board on or before March 1st of the succeeding year a "Notice of
Extraction and Diversion of Water" (hereinafter called "notice")
in the form provided in Section 5002; provided, however, that no notice
need be filed with respect to, and there shall not be required to be
included in any such notice, (a) information concerning the extraction or
diversion of water from a source from which less than 10 acre-feet
has been taken during such year, (b) information concerning a taking
or diversion of surface water for the purpose of generating
electrical energy and other nonconsumptive uses, and for incidental
uses in connection therewith, or (c) information concerning
extractions or diversions of water which are included in annual
reports filed with a court or the board by a watermaster appointed by
a court or pursuant to statute to administer a final judgment
determining rights to water, which reports identify the persons who
have extracted or diverted water and give the general place of use
and the quantity of water which has been extracted or diverted from
5002. Each notice shall be on a form provided
by the board. The first notice filed by any person shall state:
(a) The name of the person extracting ground water or diverting
(b) The quantity of water taken and the method of measurement used
by such person or his predecessor in interest in each preceding year
from each surface or ground water source; provided, that if the
period of such taking exceeds 10 years, such person is not required
to state such quantities for any period greater than the preceding 10
(c) The location (sufficient for identification) of each surface
or ground water source through or by means of which water has been
taken, and if any person or persons other than the person filing said
notice claims any interest in such source or the right to extract
water therefrom, the name or names, so far as known, of such other
person or persons.
(d) A general description of the area in which such water has been
(e) Any other facts which the board may require by general
regulation and which tend to prove the facts required by this section
to be stated, the origin of water supplying any ground water source
mentioned in the notice, water levels in any such source, or the
extent of any ground water basin from which such water is withdrawn.
(f) Any person diverting only surface water and not more than 25
acre-feet of ground water in any year need not file such notice for
Notices, other than the first notice filed, shall state, in
addition to the name of the person extracting or diverting such
First: The quantity of water taken from each surface and ground
water source from which such person received any water in the
preceding calendar year.
Second: Location of each such surface and ground water source
through or by means of which water has been taken in such preceding
year. This may be stated, so far as applicable, by reference to the
water sources described in the original notice.
Third: If such person diverts surface water in excess of three
miners inches, such person shall further state in said notice the
period or periods of such diversion, and the maximum and minimum
flows so diverted in each period.
Fourth: Any other facts which the board may require by general
regulation, and which tend to prove facts required by this
subdivision to be stated, the origin of water supplying any surface
or ground water source mentioned in the notice, water levels or flow
in any such source, or the extent or origin of the water source
supplying the ground water supply from which such water is extracted.
5003. No prescriptive
right which might otherwise accrue to extract
ground water shall arise or accrue to, nor shall any statute of
limitations operate in regard to such ground water in the four
counties or any of them after the year 1956 in favor of any person
required to file such notice of extraction and diversion of water,
until such person shall file with the board the first "Notice of
Extraction and Diversion of Water" substantially in the form
mentioned in Section 5002; and as to each person who fails to file
such notice by the end of the year 1957, it shall be deemed for the
period from that time until the first notice of such person is filed,
such source in the four counties has been made by such person, and
that water so extracted by such person from such ground water source
during such period has not been devoted to or used for any beneficial
use. The beneficial use of water from any ground water source
within the four counties in any year by such person shall be deemed
not to exceed the quantity reported in the notice filed for such
5004. After the year 1959, failure to file
with the board a notice for any calendar year within six months after
the close of such calendar year shall be deemed equivalent for all
purposes to nonuse for such year of any ground water within the four
counties by each person failing to so file a notice within said period;
provided, that this section and Section 5003 shall not apply to any
person whose aggregate extractions of ground water in any year does not
exceed 25 acre-feet nor to any extractions of ground water with respect
to which no notice is required to be filed under this part.
5005. Except as specified in Section 5004,
failure to file the notice or delay in filing the same shall not cause
the loss of rights to ground water which existed on January 1, 1956.
5006. Each notice shall be sworn to and shall
be accompanied by a filing fee which shall be fixed by the board. Such
filing fees shall be fixed so as to be sufficient on the average to pay
the administrative expenses of the board in listing and processing
notices of the character presented, and may be graduated in
accordance with the number of water sources from which extractions or
diversions are shown.
5007. Any person may apply to the board to
investigate the facts stated in any specified notice so filed and to
state in writing its determination of the facts found by it upon such
investigation. The cost of such investigation and determination shall
be paid by such applicant by such deposits or in such payments as may
be fixed by the board. In the event the board makes a determination
which differs in any material respect from the facts contained in the
notice, then, prior to making its final determination, the board shall
notify both the person filing said notice and the person requesting a
determination of facts of its proposed findings, and shall invite
either party to submit further information prior to making its final
determination, and no such final determination shall be made until
sixty (60) days after the parties have been so notified of the board
s proposed determination. In any action or proceeding hereafter pending
in which the facts, or any of them, contained in the notices so filed
are material, such notices shall not be evidence of any fact stated
therein, but such determination by the board shall be prima facie
evidence of said facts.
5008. The making of any willful misstatement
in any notice shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not
exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the
county jail for not to exceed six months, or both.