BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 426
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 15, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                     AB 426 (Salas) - As Amended:  April 23, 2013

          Policy Committee:                              Water, Parks and  
          Wildlife     Vote:                            10-5

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              

           SUMMARY  

          This bill allows a holder of a pre-1981 water right decreed  
          through a statutory adjudication to voluntarily use an  
          alternative method for seeking a water rights transfer.   
          Specifically, this bill:

          1)Eliminates the requirement to issue a court decree for water  
            rights transfers after January 1, 1981, and instead, allows  
            the water rights holder to seek a change through the State  
            Water Resources Control Board.  This option is currently  
            available to holders of post-1981 statutorily adjudicated  
            water rights or other parties holding permits or licenses.   

          2)Applies to temporary, long-term, or permanent water rights  
            transfers.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Minor, absorbable costs.

           COMMENTS

          1)Rationale.   AB 1177 ( Filante, 1980) was enacted to allow  
            holders of water rights under a statutorily adjudicated decree  
            to transfer the rights through a voluntary process at the  
            SWRCB rather than by going to court.  It is unclear if this  
            law also applies to water rights decrees that were issued  
            after the enactment of AB 1177.  

             According to the author, this bill provides an optional,  
            voluntary process for water rights holders to gain permission  








                                                                  AB 426
                                                                  Page  2

            to transfer their water rights to other parties.   This bill  
            is intended to encourage water transfers by allowing a simple  
            administrative process rather than petitioning a court to  
            re-open the current adjudication.

           2)Background.     Existing law establishes procedures for  
            determining all of the water rights on a stream system,  
            including rights based on appropriation, riparian right and  
            other considerations.   The process includes proceedings  
            before the SWRCB followed by a judicial proceeding and the  
            issuance of a decree.   A statutory adjudication decree refers  
            to the final determination of conclusive rights of all  
            existing claimants or would-be claimants upon that stream  
            system.



           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081