AB 1755, as introduced, Dodd. The Open and Transparent Water Data Act.
Existing law imposes on the Department of Water Resources various duties with respect to water in the state. Under existing law, the State Water Resources Control Board administers a water rights program pursuant to which the state board grants permits and licenses to appropriate water. Existing law regulates water transfers and authorizes a permittee or licensee to change the point of diversion, place of use, or purpose of use due to a transfer or exchange of water or water rights if certain conditions are met.
This bill would enact the Open and Transparent Water Data Act. The act would require the department to establish a public benefit corporation that would create and manage (1) a statewide water information accounting system to improve the ability of the state to meet the growing demand for water supply reliability and healthy ecosystems, that, among things, would integrate existing water data information from multiple databases and (2) an online water transfer information clearinghouse for water transfer information that would include, among other things, a database of historic water transfers and transfers pending responsible agency approval and a public forum to exchange information on water market issues.
The act would require the department, the state board, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop protocols for data sharing, documentation, quality control, public access, and promotion of open source platforms and decision support tools related to water data. The act would specify that a recipient of state funds for research or projects relating to the improvement of water data shall adhere to those protocols or be ineligible for state funding. The act would impose various other duties on the department, state board, and Department of Fish and Wildlife related to the improvement of water data, including submitting reports to the Legislature on the protocols the agencies develop and on the feasibility of creating a better surface water and groundwater monitoring network.
The act would create the Water Information System Administration Fund. The act would specify that moneys in the fund would be available, upon appropriation, to the department for the improvement of water data and for the purposes of the act.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Part 4.9 (commencing with Section 12400) is
2added to Division 6 of the Water Code, to read:
This part shall be known, and may be cited, as the Open
10and Transparent Water Data Act.
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
12(a) The recent drought reveals that California needs a real-time,
13accessible statewide water information accounting system to help
14water managers operate California’s water system more effectively
15and help water users make informed decisions based on water
16availability and allocation.
17(b) California has a number of databases containing information
18on hydrology, biology, water quality, the physical environment,
19and water rights and use. The passage of the Sustainable
P3 1Groundwater Management Act (Part 2.74 (commencing with
2Section 10720)) will result in more data on groundwater use and
3availability. Unfortunately, current water data is often challenging
4to obtain, outdated, and not always readily available to water
5managers and the public due to its collection by numerous entities
6and storage in disparate databases that often rely on tools that do
7not keep pace with technological advances.
8(c) The ability to measure stream flow is hampered for some
9streams that lack gauges.
10(d) The need to account for California’s water is essential, yet
11water managers must make decisions about water resources while
12relying on outdated and incomplete information. A greater
13understanding of and ability to access existing water data will
14support more timely and science-based decisions related to water
15planning, water allocations, water transfers, and water use
16efficiency that will lead California to a more sustainable water
18(e) On October 2, 2015, the Delta
Stewardship Council released
19a white paper entitled “Enhancing the Vision for Managing
20California’s Environmental Information.” The white paper and the
21Environmental Data Summit were a collaborative effort of the
22Delta Stewardship Council and its Delta Science Program, the
23Department of Water Resources, the Sacramento-San Joaquin
24Delta Conservancy, the State Water Resources Control Board, the
25Department of Fish and Wildlife, the San Francisco Estuary
26Institute, the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, and 34
27North. The white paper recommended four necessary actions to
28achieve the goal of streamlining the collaboration of huge amounts
29of environmental data between various state and federal agencies
30and identified the need for new policies for managing California’s
31large amounts of data: development of a system where data could
32be accessed from a centralized source, implementing new methods
33for clear documentation of existing data, and developing business
34models that will better facilitate the management of data.
35(f) The California Water Plan Update 2013, Volume 1, Chapter
366 entitled “Integrated Data and Analysis: Informed and Transparent
37Decision-Making” describes key actions needed to improve water
38resources information and analysis for integrated water
39management and urges agencies that collect data to work together
P4 1to prioritize and align water resources information that is collected
2by multiple agencies.
3(g) The California Water Action Plan recognizes the need to
4take bold action to transfer the state’s water management system
5to face the challenges of the 21st century. Climate change,
6population growth, and vulnerable ecosystems create greater
7uncertainty in future water availability. To address these challenges
8California needs to do both of the following:
9(1) Invest in a 21st century water
management system that can
10adapt to wide variations in rainfall.
11(2) Safeguard and restore California’s freshwater ecosystems
12so they can withstand variations in climate and competing demands
14(h) Standards for transparent access to data have changed with
15the public demanding real-time information on demand. However,
16the demand for available data currently outstrips the ability to
17deliver information to water managers and the public.
18(i) Clear data standards and protocols help to promote
19compatibility among datasets, allowing for sharing, aggregation,
20and analysis by multiple groups.
21(j) Metadata summarizes basic information about data, which
22can make finding and working with particular data easier. Clear
23documentation of metadata avoids misunderstandings, reduces
24disputes, and increases the effectiveness of management decisions.
25(k) Water data and research that is gathered using state funds
26should be made publicly accessible. State delegation of data
27management to contractors should not result in the public losing
28access to its own information.
29(l) The availability of cheap and open-source tools could help
30produce an online water transfer information clearinghouse without
31the need to create an expensive new centralized database.
32(m) An effective water market is one of several water
33management tools needed to improve the state’s water supply
Unless the context otherwise requires, the following
36definitions govern the construction of this part:
37(a) “Clearinghouse” means the online water transfer information
38clearinghouse created pursuant to Section 12415.
39(b) “Department” means the Department of Water Resources.
40(c) “Metadata” means data that describes data.
P5 1(d) “NGO” means a nongovernmental organization.
2(e) “State board” means the State Water Resources Control
information system” means the statewide water
5information accounting system created pursuant to Section 12410.
(a) The department shall establish a public benefit
12corporation to house, manage, and oversee the statewide water
13information accounting system created pursuant to Section 12410
14and the online water transfer information clearinghouse created
15pursuant to Section 12415.
16(b) The public benefit corporation may, notwithstanding any
17other law and not subject to otherwise applicable provisions of the
18Government Code and Public Contract Code, operate the water
19information system and the clearinghouse on its own, through a
20third party, or by engaging the services of private consultants,
21educational institutions, and NGOs to render professional and
22technical assistance with and advice for carrying out creation and
24(c) To the extent permitted by federal law, the public benefit
25corporation may receive gifts, grants, or donations of moneys from
26any agency of the federal government, any agency of the state, or
27any municipality, county, or other political subdivision thereof, or
28from any individual, association, foundation, or corporation for
29achieving any of the purposes of this part. These moneys shall be
30deposited in the Water Information System Administration Fund
31created pursuant to Section 12425.
(a) The public benefit corporation established pursuant
36to Section 12405 shall establish a statewide water information
37accounting system to improve the ability of the state to meet the
38growing demand for water supply reliability and healthy
39ecosystems. The public benefit corporation shall create the water
P6 1information accounting system in collaboration with state and
2federal agencies, water data users, and water experts.
3(b) The water information accounting system shall, at a
4minimum, do all of the following:
5(1) Integrate existing water data information from multiple
6autonomous databases managed by federal, state, and local agencies
7and academia using consistent and standardized formats.
8(2) Integrate, at a minimum, the following datasets:
9(A) The department’s information on State Water Project
10reservoir operations, groundwater use, and groundwater levels
11through California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring
12(CASGEM), urban water use, and land use.
13(B) The state board’s data on water rights, water diversions,
14and water quality through California Environmental Data Exchange
16(C) The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s information on fish
17abundance and distribution.
18(D) The United States Geological Survey’s stream flow
19conditions information through the National Water Information
21(E) The United States Bureau of Reclamation’s federal Central
22Valley Project operations information.
23(F) The United States Fish and Wildlife’s, United States Forest
24Service’s, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
25Fisheries’ fish abundance information.
26(3) Incorporate clear and careful documentation of data quality
27and data formats through metadata.
28(4) Adhere to data protocols developed by state agencies
29pursuant to Section 12420.
30(5) Be able to receive both spatial and time series data from
32(6) Enable custom dashboards, visualizations, graphing, and
The public benefit corporation established pursuant to
38Section 12405 shall establish an online water transfer information
39clearinghouse for water transfer information that shall include all
P7 1(a) A database of historic water transfers and transfers pending
2responsible agency approval.
3(b) A public forum to exchange information on water market
5(c) Information to assist proponents with responsible agency
6approval water transfer processes.
(a) The department, the state board, and the Department
11of Fish and Wildlife shall develop an open, transparent process to
12develop protocols for data sharing, documentation, quality control,
13public access, and promotion of open source platforms and decision
14support tools related to water data. The agencies shall develop and
15submit to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the
16Government Code and before the establishment of a statewide
17water information accounting system pursuant to Section 12410,
18a report describing these processes and protocols.
19(b) Grant recipients for research or projects relating to the
20improvement of water data that receive state funds shall adhere to
21the protocols developed by state agencies pursuant to subdivision
22(a) for data sharing, transparency, documentation, and quality
24(c) A researcher or grant recipient that does not comply with
25subdivision (b) is not eligible for state funding until the researcher
26or grant recipient complies with those requirements.
(a) The department, the state board, and the Department
28of Fish and Wildlife shall, by ____, prepare and submit to the
29Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government
30Code a report that identifies priority basins and subbasins that need
31additional surface water or groundwater monitoring sites, evaluates
32the feasibility of creating a better surface water and groundwater
33monitoring network, and estimates the cost of and provides options
34for funding the water information system.
35(b) The department shall develop both of the following:
36(1) A consistent method for estimating groundwater budgets.
system for forecasting water supply availability and
38subbasin flows during wet, average, and dry periods.
The state board shall do all of the following:
P8 1(a) Develop a consistent and documented approach for
2estimating wet, average, and dry year water availability based on
3existing water use data collected from all surface water right
4holders that are required to file statements of diversion and use,
5including riparian and pre-1914 appropriative rights, and, where
6available, groundwater use information.
7(b) (1) Require surface water right holders to electronically
8report return flow quantities and develop criteria for the reporting
9frequency that is required for different water rights holders.
10(2) The state board may
adopt a policy that requires more
11frequent monitoring and reporting from water right holders with
12water rights that are more likely to affect water availability than
14(c) (1) Set and make public other water allocation priorities
15and quantities for wet, average, and dry periods for the environment
16and public health and safety.
17(2) Categories of environmental flows shall include all of the
19(A) Biological opinions pursuant to the federal Endangered
20Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.).
21(B) Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) flows
22for water quality.
23(C) Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 703 et
24seq.) requirements for wetlands.
25(D) Section 5937 of the Fish and Game Code, which requires
26fish flows downstream of dams.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife shall share fish
28and stream habitat data for inclusion in the water information
29accounting system established by Section 12410.
The Water Information System Administration Fund
35is hereby created. All moneys in the fund are available, upon
36appropriation, to the department for the improvement of water
37data, including installing stream gauges and maintaining stream
38gauge networks, and for the purposes of this part, including, but
39not limited to, maintaining surface water and groundwater
40monitoring networks, establishing and operating the public benefit
P9 1corporation created pursuant to Section 12405, maintaining and
2updating the statewide water information accounting system and
3online water transfer information clearinghouse, including the cost
4to verify data, and modernizing water information databases.