Next week Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson will present a report to the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) suggesting a particularly contentious area of California’s water law be applied more broadly. In his report, Wilson recommends the State Board employ the California Constitution’s Reasonable and Beneficial Use Doctrine to promote agricultural water use efficiency. The doctrine states a water right does not include the right to waste water and mandates “the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use.”
In California, Wilson explains, a small percentage of increased agricultural water use efficiency adds up to significant water savings. Specifically, the report recommends the State Board convene a Reasonable Use Summit to develop specific actions to improve efficiency, and the creation of a Reasonable Use Unit within the Division of Water Rights. Wilson will present his report at the next State Board Meeting Session on Wednesday, January 19th.