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Inventory of the Records of the State Water Rights Board
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Series Description


Records of the State Water Rights Board 1915-1986


Series 1 Application Files 1915-1986

Physical Description: 863 file folders (36 cubic feet) and 55 maps and blueprints.


Arranged numerically by application number.

Scope and Content Note

Compiled files of the application, permit, and license process of the State Water Commission (1913-1921), and its successors, the Department of Public Works, Division of Water Resources (circa 1921-1956), the State Water Rights Board (1956-1967), and the State Water Resources Control Board (1967-1986). The application files reflect the process of obtaining appropriative water rights in California, as well as the Board's supervision of those water rights. Application files unveil the many recorded forms provided by both the applicant and the State Water Rights Board as well as a bulk of correspondence between the Board, applicants, and protestors. Additionally, these files contain well-documented reports and analyses written by Board members and engineers pertaining to the construction of water projects and the use of the appropriated waters. The application files generally contain specific information on California's waterways, water sources, and watersheds. These include some of the state's more vital waterways including the Colorado River, Owens River and river valley, San Joaquin River, Sacramento River, and Tuolumne River as well as the lesser known water sources. Some noteworthy applicants for appropriating water appear in these files including legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, entrepreneur Dean Witter, the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, various United States National Forests, and other federal and state entities. An application of particular interest, especially to Southern Californians, is application number 4056. The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power applied for the right to appropriate water from the Colorado River via aqueduct. This application includes informative reports, surveys, protests, publications, heavy correspondence, and many maps and diagrams including one displaying the routes for diverting water from the Colorado River compiled by the Department's head engineer William Mulholland. All application files are consistent with the filing number 266.1 of the filing system of the California Department of Water Resources. Similar application files exist in the California State Archives in the Selected Archives collection, identification number F1761. There are approximately 32 file folders of water rights application files in that collection.

Series 2 State Water Commission Weekly Meeting Books. 1915-1921

Physical Description: 3 bound volumes


Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content Note

Minutes of the weekly meetings of the State Water Commission (1915-1921). The minutes reflect the policy and administrative work of the commission relative to the processes of the State Water Rights Board. These meetings were held either in San Francisco or in Sacramento. The substance of the minutes exhibits the salaries, roles of each member of the commission, and the applications considered for action. Furthermore, the minutes describe notices of hearings, the reporting of fees paid for various applications, and movement for granting permits to applicants. Discussion of water utilization and beneficial use may also appear within these volumes.