Water diverters throughout the Delta will be required to monitor the amount of water they use and redirect on a monthly basis, starting Jan. 1, 2012, according to the State Water Resources Control Board’s Delta Watermaster.
At its November meeting, Watermaster Craig Wilson told the Delta Stewardship Council that historically, diverters have not been required to measure and report, but this year they will, or fines will be assessed.
Wilson said that his staff has already been in contact with diverters for the past year through public workshops and meetings and are making impressive progress.
According to his report, there have been five times as many Statements of Water Diversion and Use filed in the Delta in the last year than in the previous 44 years combined.
“We’ve placed a heavy emphasis on outreach and it’s really paid off,” Wilson said. “We’ve had a higher compliance rate in the Delta than in most areas of the state.”
He also stressed that as long as diverters are trying to comply, fines will not be levied.
“If [diverters] provide monthly measures of diversions and make a good effort, [they’ll] be in good shape,” he said.
Wilson, whose position of Watermaster was created by the same legislation that created the Council, went on to say that if Delta diverters can demonstrate that monitoring devices are not “locally cost effective,” alternative measuring can be performed.
Council member Randy Fiorini was impressed with the progress the Watermaster and his staff have made.
“As you recall, I was critical of your previous report, so it’s only fair that I compliment you on this one,” Fiorini said. “I thought it was really well done – very comprehensive, easy to read and understand.”
The Watermaster is required by law to give regular updates to the Council on water rights administration, water quality issues and conveyance operations. Wilson will give his next update during the spring of 2012.
To view the Watermaster’s PowerPoint presentation to the Council, click here.
To view the Watermaster’s full report on water diversions, click here.