Water Rights

A photo of two people sitting on the bank of a canal watching a small boat take stream measurements.

A water right is a legal entitlement authorizing water to be diverted from a specified source and put to reasonable and beneficial use. Many water rights include permits and licenses that authorize diversion from surface streams and that have been issued by the State Water Resources Control Board’s or its predecessor state permitting agencies. Other types of surface water rights include riparian rights and rights for diversions away from streams that predate state permitting requirements, which took effect in 1914. Riparian rights and “pre-1914” rights are reflected in water diversion and use statements.

Yuba Water holds 13 licenses, permits and statements of water diversion and use, which authorize Yuba Water to store water in New Bullards Bar, Englebright and Lake Francis reservoirs and to divert water at several locations in the Yuba River watershed and Sacramento River Delta for irrigation, flood control, domestic and industrial use, recreation and fisheries mitigation and enhancement.   

Water use reports are submitted annually to the State Water Board and more frequently during drought or when water rights are curtailed. The state requires that water right holders that divert more than certain amounts or rates of water provide telemetered diversion data via a public website. Yuba Water’s diversions are large enough to be subject to these telemetry requirements. 

The links below show current reservoir and streamflow gage data used to process the agency’s water right information.