Code Section Group

Water Code - WAT


  ( Division 5 added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369. )


  ( Heading of Part 4 amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 366, Sec. 6. )

CHAPTER 3. Powers, Duties and Jurisdiction [8590 - 8723]

  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369. )

ARTICLE 1. General Powers [8590 - 8613]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369. )


To carry out the primary state interest described in Section 8532, the board may do any of the following:

(a) Acquire either within or outside the boundaries of the drainage district, by purchase, condemnation or by other lawful means in the name of the drainage district, all lands, rights-of-way, easements, property or material necessary or requisite for the purpose of bypasses, weirs, cuts, canals, sumps, levees, overflow channels and basins, reservoirs and other flood control works, and other necessary purposes, including drainage purposes.

(b) Construct, clear, and maintain bypasses, levees, canals, sumps, overflow channels and basins, reservoirs and other flood control works.

(c) Construct, maintain, and operate ditches, canals, pumping plants, and other drainage works.

(d) Make contracts in the name of the drainage district to indemnify or compensate any owner of land or other property for any injury or damage caused by the exercise of the powers conferred by this division, or arising out of the use, taking, or damage of any property for any of the purposes of this division.

(e) Collaborate with state and federal agencies, if appropriate, regarding multiobjective flood management strategies that incorporate agricultural conservation, ecosystem protection and restoration, or recreational components.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 366, Sec. 20. Effective January 1, 2008.)


In acquiring interests in land necessary for the purposes specified in Section 8590 and notwithstanding the provisions of Section 8676, the board in determining whether to acquire in fee or easement may consider such additional uses as fish and wildlife enhancement and recreation if so requested by another state agency. Any such parcel acquired in fee shall be subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the board to insure that the primary purposes of flood control are served and to prevent any damage or interference with the flood control works for any public nuisances arising out of such additional uses and any increased costs of maintenance attributable to such additional uses shall be borne by the agency requesting such uses.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the board to acquire any land over and above that necessary for the purposes specified in Section 8590.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1900.)


The board has no power, authority, or jurisdiction, either directly or indirectly, except as provided in this division, to incur any indebtedness or expend any money or adopt or carry into effect any plan or project or to acquire any lands, rights of way, or easements, or to do any work, or cause any work to be performed, for which any land lying within the drainage district is to be assessed, except to maintain, repair, and operate its existing works of reclamation and flood control and to complete, maintain and operate any project adopted by the board prior to April 1, 1923, with the existing powers to levy assessments therefor.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board has the same power, authority and jurisdiction in reference to the adoption and carrying to completion of any work or project involved in or contained in the report of the California Debris Commission dated January 5, 1925, to the Congress of the United States as are conferred in the case of projects adopted by the board prior to April 1, 1923.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board may acquire by eminent domain in the name of the drainage district any property necessary for any of the purposes set forth in this part.

(Amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 1239.)


The board may maintain actions in the name of the people of the State to restrain, or to recover damages for, the doing of any act or thing that may be injurious to any of the works necessary to the plan of flood control or that may interfere with the successful execution of the plan.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


Any damages so recovered shall be deposited with the State Treasurer to the credit of the drainage district and the assessment for the particular portion or project affected by the injury.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board may also do any of the following:

(a) Establish a standard of levee construction.

(b) Do any and all things necessary or incident to the powers granted or to carry out the objects specified in this article.

(c) Maintain actions in the name of the people of the State to restrain the diversion of the water of any stream that will increase the flow of water in the Sacramento or San Joaquin Rivers or their tributaries, and such diversion of the water of any stream into the rivers or either of them or any of their tributaries, is a public nuisance which may be prevented or abated by the board.

(d) Rent, lease for oil, gas or other hydrocarbons in the manner provided for in this chapter, or dispose, by sale, exchange, in payment for work done or services rendered, or for any other purpose which the board may deem advisable, of any land, property, material, equipment, or any other thing in the possession of the drainage district, which, in the opinion of the board, is no longer needed for the purposes of flood control works or other necessary or convenient purposes.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


Notwithstanding Section 6402 of the Public Resources Code, the board may sell or lease surplus real property which is held in fee by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Drainage District and which lies within a predominantly residential, industrial, or commercial area, without reserving the right to extract minerals or petroleum products through the surface of such property.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 502.)


The board may undertake any construction work that it is authorized to do by this part, free from any control or jurisdiction of the department.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


Subject to the provisions of the State Contract Act any construction work undertaken by the board may be done wholly or partly by contract let by the board in such manner as the board may determine, or may be done wholly or partly by day labor or force account if deemed advisable by the board.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


(a) The governing body of a public entity that is authorized by law to construct, manage, maintain, or repair levees, channels, or other flood control works that are under the jurisdiction of the board may adopt standards for the operation and maintenance of those flood control works that are more protective of public safety than the standards adopted by the board pursuant to Section 8608, including, but not limited to, standards that are more restrictive of encroachments on levees and adjacent areas.

(b) The standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be effective upon approval by the board.

(c) The public entity shall apply the standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) prospectively.

(d) The governing body of the public entity may revise the standards adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) subject to the approval of the board. The board may unilaterally revise these standards upon 90 days’ written notice to the public entity.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 498, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)


The board may construct, purchase, rent, sell or exchange dredgers, machines, appliances, tools, apparatus and other property necessary or convenient for doing any construction work.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The cost of the equipment and property shall be apportioned to and paid from the funds raised from the several assessments levied or to be levied by the board in a just and equitable manner according to the use made of the equipment or property in carrying out the several separate portions or projects for which the assessments are levied.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board may rent for use by others idle dredgers or other equipment.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The rental received shall be paid to the State Treasurer and credited to the balance remaining unexpended of the assessments against which the cost of such equipment has been paid or is to be charged as indicated by the board.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board may inspect and supervise any work done or under construction pursuant to the provisions of this part.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board may insert a stipulation providing for such inspection and supervision in any order, contract or other instrument, relating to the work authorized in this part.

(Added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 369.)


The board shall establish and enforce standards for the maintenance and operation of levees, channels, and other flood control works of an authorized project or an adopted plan, including but not limited to standards for encroachment, construction, vegetation and erosion control measures. In adopting such standards, the board shall give full consideration to fish and wildlife, recreation and environmental factors. Any violation of such adopted standards without the permission of the board is a public nuisance, and the board may commence and maintain suit in the name of the people of the state for the prevention or abatement of the nuisance.

(Added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 804.)


(a) The board may designate floodways throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers drainage to control encroachments in, and to preserve the flow regimens of, floodways for the purpose of protecting public improvements, lives, land use values, and improvements created in reliance upon historical flooding patterns.

(b) As used in this part, “Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers drainage,” or equivalent language, means all lands currently and historically drained by the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River and their tributaries and distributaries.

(c) This section is declaratory of existing law.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 56, Sec. 177.)


The board shall offer to lease to the Department of Fish and Game, or to an appropriate public resource protection or public conservation agency or organization approved by the Department of Fish and Game and the board, any lands it acquires as replacement habitat as mitigation for adverse environmental impacts of its projects. The lease agreement shall ensure that these lands are managed to provide the mitigation for which they were acquired and shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for funding management of those lands. Funds for management of those lands may include, but are not limited to, funds appropriated by the Legislature to the Department of Water Resources, the Reclamation Board, or the Department of Fish and Game, and funds available from local entities. The lease agreement shall reserve the authority of the board to carry out necessary flood control activities and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 745, Sec. 230.1. Effective October 12, 2001.)


(a) (1) The board shall adopt regulations relating to evidentiary hearings pursuant to Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 11400) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(2) The board shall hold an evidentiary hearing for any matter that requires the issuance of a permit if the proposed work may significantly affect any element of the State Plan of Flood Control or if a formal protest against that permit has been lodged.

(3) The board may, by regulation, define types of encroachments that will not significantly affect any element of the State Plan of Flood Control. Evidentiary hearings are not required for uncontested applications for those defined encroachments unless, in the judgment of the executive officer, there is a reasonable possibility that the project will have a significant effect on an adopted plan of flood control.

(4) The board may delegate approval of permits for encroachments that will not significantly affect any element of the State Plan of Flood Control to the executive officer.

(5) The board is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing before making a decision relating to general flood protection policy or planning.

(b) The board may take an action pursuant to Section 8560 only after allowing for public comment.

(c) The board shall, in any evidentiary hearing, consider all of the following, as applicable, for the purpose of taking any action pursuant to Section 8560:

(1) Evidence that the board admits into its record from any party, state or local public agency, or nongovernmental organization with expertise in flood or flood plain management.

(2) The best available science that relates to the scientific issues presented by the executive officer, legal counsel, the department, or other parties that raise credible scientific issues.

(3) Effects of the proposed decision on the entire State Plan of Flood Control.

(4) Effects of reasonably projected future events, including, but not limited to, changes in hydrology, climate, and development within the applicable watershed.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 275, Sec. 15. (AB 1165) Effective January 1, 2010.)


(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), prior to construction at a site of a flood control, channel clearance, or bank stabilization project, the board, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Game, shall prepare and adopt a mitigation plan which shall be implemented as part of the project. A mitigation plan shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) A description of the actions that the board proposes to take to ensure that the project will meet all mitigation standards required by law with the objective of ensuring that the project causes no net loss of riparian, fishery, or wildlife habitat.

(2) A designation of the agency or agencies responsible for implementing and maintaining each mitigation element of the plan.

(3) A schedule for implementation of the mitigation ensuring that the mitigation measures will be accomplished prior to, or concurrent with, construction of the project, unless the board determines that to do so would be impracticable.

(4) A financing plan for the mitigation identifying the source or sources of funds for the mitigation, the share of mitigation costs attributable to each source, and a schedule of when the funds are to be provided.

The plan may take into consideration the environmental benefits of restoring, maintaining, or increasing the sustainable diversity of native species and habitat which may result from the project, if these benefits have been approved by the Department of Fish and Game. The Department of Fish and Game may submit a review of the plan and its recommendations to the board for inclusion in the plan.

(b) No mitigation plan is required when the board is responding to an emergency where no mitigation is required.

(c) For any project authorized pursuant to Section 12668, the agreement set forth in subdivision (a) shall provide for the mitigation of the project with the objective of providing a net long-term enhancement of the riparian habitat and fishery in the project area. The degree of net enhancement required for each phase or part of the project shall not be so great as to cause the project to be infeasible.

(Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1488, Sec. 2.)


(a) On or before December 31, 2008, the department shall prepare, and the board shall adopt, a schedule for mapping areas at risk of flooding in the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River drainage.

(b) The department shall update the schedule annually and shall present the updated schedule to the board for adoption on or before December 31 of each year. The update shall include the status of mapping in progress and an estimated time of completion. The schedule shall be based on the present and expected future risk of flooding and associated consequences.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 368, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2008.)


(a) The board or the department may establish a program of mitigation banking for the activities of the board or the department under this part and for the benefit of local districts in the discharge of their flood control responsibilities under this part and the State Water Resources Law of 1945 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 12570) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 12639) of Part 6 of Division 6).

(b) For the purposes of carrying out subdivision (a), the board or the department, in consultation with all appropriate state, local, and federal agencies with jurisdiction over environmental protection that are authorized to regulate and impose requirements upon the flood control work performed under this part or the State Water Resources Law of 1945 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 12570) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 12639) of Part 6 of Division 6), may establish a system of mitigation banking by which mitigation credits may be acquired in advance for flood control work to be performed by the board, the department, or a local agency authorized to operate and maintain facilities of the State Plan of Flood Control.

(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 368, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2008.)

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