BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    





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          |                                                                 |
          |         SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER         |
          |                   Senator Fran Pavley, Chair                    |
          |                    2013-2014 Regular Session                    |
          |                                                                 |
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          BILL NO: AB 426                    HEARING DATE: June 26, 2013
          AUTHOR: Salas                      URGENCY: No
          VERSION: April 23, 2013            CONSULTANT: Dennis O'Connor
          DUAL REFERRAL: No                  FISCAL: Yes
          SUBJECT: Water transfers: water right decrees
          
          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          Under existing law, any water rights claimant may petition the  
          State Water Resources Control Board to commence a "statutory  
          adjudication" of a stream system in which a right is claimed.   
          Upon conclusion of the proceeding, the State Board adopts an  
          order of determination that is then filed with the court, which  
          issues the decree.  The decree declares the water rights of each  
          party, including the priority and amount, point of diversion,  
          and season, purpose and place of use.

          Also under existing law, the State Board may approve a water  
          transfer involving a water right determined through a statutory  
          adjudication, if the court decree was issued after January 1,  
          1981.

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would delete the requirement that a court decree be  
          issued after January 1, 1981, thereby allowing the State Board  
          to approve a water transfer involving any water right determined  
          through a statutory adjudication.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, "This bill is intended to encourage  
          water transfers by allowing a simple administrative process  
          rather than petitioning the court to reopen the current  
          adjudication."

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION: None received

          COMMENTS 
          Statutory adjudication is a little used process to resolve  
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          surface water rights.  According to the State Board's website,  
          there have been 28 stream systems statutorily adjudicated, 21 of  
          which had court decrees issued before January 1, 1981.  Most of  
          the statutorily adjudicated stream systems are in northern  
          California.

          The record is unclear as to why the legislature decided to allow  
          the State Board to approve a water transfer involving statutory  
          adjudicated water right only if the court decree was issued  
          after January 1, 1981.

          SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS: None

          SUPPORT: None Received

          OPPOSITION: None Received































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