Code Section Group

Water Code - WAT

DIVISION 2. WATER [1000 - 5976]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 368. )

PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS [1000 - 1126.2]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 368. )

CHAPTER 1.5. Water Leases [1020 - 1031]
  ( Chapter 1.5 added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3. )

1020.
  

Water may be leased for a period not to exceed five years to assist water conservation efforts pursuant to the terms and conditions of this chapter. The terms and conditions of this chapter are not applicable to water leases or transfers governed by other provisions of law.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1021.
  

(a) The water subject to a water lease agreement shall be water that is subject to a water right of the lessor. The amount of water leased shall not exceed 25 percent of the water that would have been applied or stored by the lessor in the absence of the lease agreement in any given hydrological year.

(b) Each lease agreement shall include enforceable terms which will ensure that the water lease will not injure any legal user of water and will not unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses.

(c) This chapter applies only to surface water appropriated pursuant to the Water Commission Act (Chapter 586 of the Statutes of 1913, as amended) or this code, or to water appropriated prior to December 19, 1914.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1022.
  

If the water subject to the lease is held by a water district, a water company, or a mutual water company, hereafter collectively referred to as the district, the following provisions apply:

(a) The governing body of the district may, by a resolution adopted and entered in its minutes, determine that the district should lease water pursuant to this chapter, or, if otherwise required by law, determine that an election should be held to lease water pursuant to this chapter. The district shall administer any water lease and determine whether water is in excess of the needs of the district and is available for a lease.

(b) Any water lease administered by the district shall include provisions to achieve all of the following:

(1) Establish a schedule for district water users to provide written notice of the intention to participate in a water lease.

(2) Establish a minimum price for the water available for leasing to maintain the financial integrity of the district and enter into leases for that water at market values at or above the minimum price.

(3) Annually distribute the net monetary proceeds to water users in the district who have participated in the water leases, according to district water allocation policies, after first deducting district costs. These costs include, but are not limited to, the cost of the water, whether or not water is delivered, the costs of conveyance, distribution and development facilities, lease administration, and other appropriate district costs apportioned to water users in the district who forego the use of district water to participate in the water lease.

(c) Participation in a water lease administered by the district pursuant to this section is deemed to be a public service generally provided by the public body or board for purposes of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 1091.5 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 56, Sec. 1. Effective May 14, 1992.)

1024.
  

(a) Nothing in this chapter authorizes the sale of any water right or the modification of any water right or contract.

(b) No right in any water, water contract, or water right shall be acquired by a use permitted under this chapter.

(c) (1) When any person entitled to the use of water under an appropriative right fails to use all or any part of the water because of water conservation efforts and leases that conserved water under this chapter, any such cessation of, or reduction in, the use of the appropriated water that is leased is deemed equivalent to a reasonable beneficial use of water to the extent of that cessation of, or reduction in, use. No forfeiture of the appropriative right to the water conserved shall occur upon the lapse of the forfeiture period applicable to water appropriated pursuant to the Water Commission Act (Chapter 586 of the Statutes of 1913, as amended) or this code, or to water appropriated prior to December 19, 1914.

(2) The state board may require any lessor of water who seeks the benefit of this chapter to file periodic reports describing the extent and amount of the reduction in water use due to water conservation efforts. To the maximum extent possible, the reports shall be made a part of other reports required by the state board relating to the use of water. Failure to file the reports shall deprive the user of water of the benefits of this chapter.

(3) For purposes of this chapter, “water conservation” means the use of less water to accomplish the same purpose or purposes of use allowed under the existing appropriative right. Where water appropriated for irrigation purposes is not used by reason of land fallowing or crop rotation, the reduced usage shall be deemed water conservation for purposes of this section.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1024.5.
  

This chapter does not limit any review of the lessee’s use of the leased water.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1025.
  

If the lessor or lessee is a water district, the water lessor shall file a notice with the state board of the water lease agreement and include in the notice all of the following:

(a) A copy of the lease agreement.

(b) Any water permit or license number.

(c) A description of the environmental conditions in the lease, permit, and license which protect fish and wildlife.

(d) A statement of how the lease will assist water conservation efforts of the lessor.

(e) An agreement undertaken by the lessor and the lessee which specifies how the environmental protection terms and conditions in the permit, license, or lease, and the applicable conditions established pursuant to Section 1029 for the permit, license, or other water right, will be complied with for the duration of the lease.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1025.5.
  

(a) If both the lessor and lessee are private parties, the lessor shall file an application with the board for approval of the lease agreement and shall include in the application all of the following:

(1) The information and materials described in subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, of Section 1025.

(2) Other information that the state board determines is necessary to review the application.

(3) The application fee set pursuant to Section 1525.

(b) The board, after providing notice and opportunity for a hearing, may approve the lease if, in the judgment of the board, the lease would not operate to injure the legal users of water or unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 79. Effective January 1, 2004.)

1025.7.
  

Water leases pursuant to this chapter are not subject to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 1700) or Chapter 10.5 (commencing with Section 1725) of Part 2.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1026.
  

The lead agency shall not approve a water lease until 30 days after the board provides written public notice, including notice by personal delivery or registered mail to legal users of water which may be affected by the lease, as identified by the board, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and any party requesting special notice of water leases pursuant to this chapter. The water lessor shall pay a reasonable fee, in an amount determined by the state board, for the cost of providing the notice.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 683, Sec. 42. (SB 798) Effective January 1, 2016.)

1027.
  

(a) Any water lease agreement entered into pursuant to this chapter involving the transfer of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta shall provide outflow consistent with the carriage water requirements determined by the department to be necessary for the transfer of the water subject to the lease to maintain the water quality which would exist in the delta without the transfer undertaken in connection with the water lease.

(b) Any water lease agreement providing for the lease of water from a lessor north of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta to a lessee south of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta shall provide for an amount of water for delta salt water repulsion and environmental purposes as administratively prescribed by the state board in proportion to all similar requirements for delta exports.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1028.
  

In any proceeding pursuant to Section 1029, the court shall determine issues relating to the lease and the effects of the water transfer pursuant to the lease on the legal users of water and on fish and wildlife, but any request or petition to permanently change the water right which may be subject to the lease shall be heard in a separate proceeding.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1029.
  

Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code applies to water lease agreements authorized by this chapter. For purposes of that division, the lessor is the lead agency, except that if the lessor is a private party and the lessee is a water district, the lessee is the lead agency. If both the lessor and the lessee are private parties, the state board is the lead agency.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1030.
  

During the term of the water lease, the state board shall monitor the lease, as appropriate. The state board shall initiate proceedings, if appropriate, to enforce the terms and conditions of water leases, and permits and licenses or water use authority to ensure that the water lease does not operate to injure any legal user of the water or unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 847, Sec. 3.)

1031.
  

A water lease pursuant to this chapter shall not take effect until the first annual fee, set pursuant to Section 1525, is paid, and the lease shall not continue in effect in any subsequent year unless the annual fee for that year is paid.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 80. Effective January 1, 2004.)

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