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Inventory of the Records of the State Water Rights Board
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The records of the State Water Rights Board consist of 36 cubic feet, 55 maps and blueprints, and 3 bound volumes covering the period 1915 through 1986. The earliest records reflect the work and management of water rights and resources by the State Water Commission, which operated from 1913 to 1921. Records dating from 1921 and continuing forward to 1956 relate to the Department of Public Works, Division of Water Resources. Records specifically created by the State Water Rights Board cover the period 1956 through 1967. Records after 1967 come via the State Water Resources Control Board, the entity currently responsible for administering and adjudicating water rights in California. The application files in this collection recount the appropriation of unappropriated waters through the permit and license processes. These files consist primarily of original applications, amended applications, analyses, engineers' reports, annual reports, inspection and investigation reports, correspondence, and memoranda; however, reports of protest, newspaper clippings, hearing transcripts, exhibits, photographs, notes, and hand drawn maps, survey maps, publications, and background information are found throughout the collection as well.
The Water Commission Act of 1913, Chapter 586 of Statutes 1913, created California's first water rights governing agency, the State Water Commission. Prior to this law, any or every person could freely begin work to divert and use (beneficially or otherwise) water in California. This commission began operation immediately and consisted of five persons who sought to arbitrate the incessant disputes created by California's dual water rights system. The governor of California, the state engineer, and three members appointed by the governor to four year terms made up the five member commission (Chapter 586, Statutes 1913). According to the law, the three members appointed by the governor should have ample "knowledge and experience in the application and use of waters for irrigation, mining, and municipal purposes" with at least one of them familiar with water use for agricultural purposes (Chapter 586, Statutes 1913). The State Water Commission initiated procedures to issue permits and licenses, most of which are still in use today.
36 cubic feet of textual records, 55 maps and blueprints, and 3 bound volumes.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.
No Restrictions.