Once the public is notified of a water right petition, the California Water Code provides the public and interested water right holders an opportunity to protest granting of an application for a water right.
Learn about C-WIN’s Water Rights Action Program.
California Water Code Section 1335 recognizes as legitimate four types of protest that the application would:
- Result in injury to an existing water right.
- Not be in the public interest.
- Adversely affect public trust resources
- Adversely affect the environment.
No member of C-WIN personally possesses a water right, nor does the organization possess an interest in a water right. However, C-WIN files protests on selected applications on grounds of public interest (e.g., proposed use would be wasteful and unreasonable), public trust protection, and environmental effects, based on this sampling of legal authorities (as appropriate):
- California Fish and Game Code Section 5937
- The federal Clean Water Act and the state’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
- The Public Trust Doctrine, established in the 1983 decision of National Audubon Society v. Superior Court (the Mono Lake decision), and applied in State Water Board Decision 1631.
- The California Constitution, Article X, Section 2, which expresses the state’s prohibition against waste and unreasonable use or method of use, or method of diversion of water.
- The Salmon, Steelhead, and Anadromous Fisheries Act of 1988 (SB 2261)
- The California Environmental Quality Act.
- The National Environmental Policy Act (if federal applicants are involved).
- The Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-575, Title 34).
Other laws and authorities (e.g., court cases and regulations) may also provide protest rationales, depending on specific applications submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board.