Delta Watermaster Says Inefficient Water Use is Unreasonable Water Use

Last Wednesday Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson presented a report to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) suggesting it should flex its power to enforce California’s Reasonable Use Doctrine more broadly across the state. Wilson specifically referenced a clause in the doctrine which states, “the waste and unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water” is to be prevented. Wilson says the state must work to improve the efficiency of the agricultural sector’s delivery systems and water use. Agriculture is the single largest demand for water in the state, about 80% of Delta water consumption, and the most difficult to monitor for efficiency.

In order to tackle this issue, Wilson recommended the SWRCB convene a Reasonable Water Use Summit and Reasonable Use Unit within the SWRCB. Although, most provocatively, Wilson suggested that enforcement begin with Cease and Desist Orders to waste and unreasonable use offenders. Wilson begun and closed his report stating, “Inefficient water use is unreasonable water use.”