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UC to offer more training for water diverters

UC Cooperative Extension WFP-UC-water-diversions.jpg
Landowners attend a University of California Cooperative Extension workshop at the Shasta Livestock Auction Yard in Cottonwood, Calif., in 2018.
Course to help landowners meet new reporting requirements.

University of California advisors are offering two more courses to teach landowners with rights to divert water from rivers and streams how to install their own devices to measure and report their diversions.

The April 4 courses in Redding and Woodland will clarify water reporting requirements for ranches, offer opinions on which meters work best in different situations and teach participants how to determine measurement equipment accuracy, according to the UC Cooperative Extension.

Attendees will also develop an understanding of measurement weirs and learn how to calculate and report volume from flow data, a UCCE news release explains.

"From my perspective, it's been really interesting and interactive," says Larry Forero, a UCCE farm advisor based in Redding. "I think one of the huge benefits of the class is that folks will say, 'Yeah, I can do this myself,' or 'No, my system is more complex. I need to hire someone to do it.'"

Reporting rules

With the recent historic drought fresh on members' minds, the State Water Resources Control Board in 2016 ramped up reporting requirements for the state's roughly 12,000 property owners and users with senior riparian water rights.

The rules now require annual reporting of surface water diversions rather than every three years, and landowners can no longer avoid the mandate by claiming an economic hardship. Those who divert more than 100 acre-feet per year were ordered to hire a licensed engineer to install a water-measuring device by Jan. 1 or July 1, 2018, depending on the size of the diversion. Smaller diverters had to begin measuring and reporting their water use by Jan. 1, 2019.. Larger diverters had to comply by earlier deadlines, on Jan. 1 and July 1, 2017, respectively.

A subsequent bill sponsored by the California Cattlemen's Association enabled landowners to install their own devices or use an alternative method if they take a course developed by the water board and UC. Landowners could ask for deadline extensions to take the course.

About 1,200 people took the class last year at 14 locations from Yreka to Bakersfield. Forero says he is using feedback from those participants as he puts together this year's course.

"One of the things that surprised me is how a lot of these systems are unique," Forero says, referring to water diversion systems. "You would think after talking to that many people that we'd be saying, 'Yeah, they're really all the same,' but no. I was really surprised."

Class locations

This year's classes will be held April 4 at the following locations::

  • Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland – Register at or by emailing Morgan Doran at or calling the UCCE office in Yolo County at (530) 666-8143. Training will begin at 2 p.m. and should conclude by 5 p.m.

Detailed information on the regulatory requirements for measurement and reporting are available on the water board's Reporting and Measurement Regulation webpage.

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