On March 19, 2020, California issued Executive Order N-25-20, a statewide shelter in place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly altering operations of both state agencies and private businesses. However, California’s water regulators, including the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the Department of Water Resources (DWR), have committed to maintaining critical deadlines, compliance requirements, and agency operations in the interest of public health and safety.
Importantly, the SWRCB’s Division of Water Rights continues to require all surface water users to submit annual reports to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline for reporting 2019 water use. As of the publication of this alert, although the Division of Water Rights has postponed non-essential file review, the Division of Water Rights is maintaining limited hours to view essential records, by appointment only.
Additionally, the SWRCB and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (collectively “Water Boards”) issued a guidance statement providing that in the interest of protecting public health, safety, and the environment, timely compliance with all Water Board orders and requirements is required. This includes compliance with regulations, permits, contractual obligations, primacy delegations, and funding conditions that are in effect.