Code Section Group

Water Code - WAT


  ( Heading of Division 6 amended by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1932. )


  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1943, Ch. 370. )

CHAPTER 11. Water Conservation and Reclamation Projects [11950 - 11985]

  ( Chapter 11 added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 1. Policy [11950 - 11954]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1. )


This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Water Conservation Projects Act of 1985.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1.)


The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Agriculture is this state’s largest income producer, contributing approximately $14 billion annually to the economy of the state. California agriculture remains the leader in the development of modern agricultural technology and is supported by the world’s leading agricultural education and research institutions. However, the future growth and prosperity of agriculture is threatened by a lack of necessary irrigation water.

(b) The population of California is expected to increase by over three million persons by the year 2000. This increase alone will require at least an additional 600,000 acre-feet of water annually for municipal purposes.

(c) Upon commencement of the operation of the Central Arizona Project which is scheduled to occur by 1985, over 662,000 acre-feet of water presently available for use each year in California will be lost to the State of Arizona pursuant to decisions of the United States Supreme Court. These court decisions decrease the total water supply available to California from the Colorado River by a quantity sufficient to supply the needs of three and one-half million people.

(d) The central San Joaquin Valley faces a critical water shortage amounting to approximately 1.4 million acre-feet annually which is presently being mined from the groundwater basin. The lowering of the groundwater table is causing irrigation water to be pumped at excessive depths of 500 to 600 feet or more, which requires a tremendous use of energy at a high cost.

(e) Based on a 50 year average, California faces a drought in one out of every four years. During periods such as the 1976–1977 drought, the state has had critical water shortages, requiring emergency conservation measures and resulting in thousands of acres of prime agricultural land in the San Joaquin Valley remaining unplanted. At the peak of the 1976–77 drought period, the state lost approximately $1.5 billion in crop revenues as a result of inadequate supplies of irrigation water.

(f) A portion of the foregoing water requirements may be economically met by water conservation and reclamation projects which produce substantial quantities of additional usable water for use in areas of the state with inadequate local supplies.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1.)


(a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to encourage local agencies and private enterprise to implement potential water conservation and reclamation projects by establishing a state program to finance or assist in financing projects which meet state criteria and will result in additional supplies of water for use in areas of need. Water conservation and reclamation projects, including facilities for municipal and industrial advanced waste water treatment, regulatory impoundments, improvements to water supply and delivery systems, tailwater recovery systems, and sprinkler or drip irrigation systems, may result in increased quantities of usable water for beneficial purposes, but may be financially unattractive at the local level if the cost of additional fresh water is less than the cost to conserve or reclaim water.

(b) It is in the interests of both the users of water supplied by the state and the users of local water supplies to undertake water conservation and reclamation projects which supply water for purposes of the State Water Resources Development System at a cost less than the cost of new state water development facilities, and which provide benefits to local water users, including decreased salt concentrations, resulting from increased irrigation efficiency and reduced problems of pollution from waste water discharges. It is not the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to affect or otherwise defer the construction of water facilities necessary to meet the requirements of the people of this state, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect the authority of the department under any other provision of law.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1.)


Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to alter or impair any provision of law providing protections for areas of origin, including, but not limited to, Article 1.7 (commencing with Section 1215) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 2, Section 10505, Article 3 (commencing with Section 11460) of Chapter 3, or Part 4.5 (commencing with Section 12200).

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1.)


Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to alter or impair any existing rights, including rights to divert water from the Colorado River and rights to the distribution or use of that water.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 938, Sec. 1.)

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