The California Water Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. Seven members are chosen for their expertise related to the control, storage, and beneficial use of water and two are chosen for their knowledge of the environment. The Commission provides a public forum for discussing water issues, advises the Director of the Department of Water Resources on matters within the Department’s jurisdiction, approves rules and regulations, and monitors and reports on the construction and operation of the State Water Project. Proposition 1: The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act approved by voters in 2014, gave the Commission new responsibilities regarding the distribution of public funds set aside for the public benefits of water storage projects, and developing regulations for the quantification and management of those benefits. In 2018, the Commission approved maximum conditional funding amounts for eight projects in the Water Storage Investment Program.
The roles and responsibilities of the California Water Commission are defined in the Water Code, sections of the Government Code, and the Civil Procedures Code. Some of their specific responsibilities are highlighted below:
Departmental Activities and Regulations
- Conferring with, advising, and making recommendations to the Director of the Department of Water Resources with respect to any matters under the Director's jurisdiction. (WC §161)
- Approving all rules and regulations of the Department, other than those relating exclusively to the internal administration and management of the Department, before they can become effective. (WC §161)
State Water Project
- Conducting an annual review of the construction and operation of the State Water Project, and making a report on its findings to the Department of Water Resources and to the Legislature, with any recommendations it may have. (WC §165)
- Naming of all facilities of the State Water Project. After conducting a public hearing for the purpose of considering all proposed names for such facilities, the Commission, by resolution, will express its decision regarding the naming of specific facilities of the State Water Project. (WC § 161.5, 166)
- Adopting a resolution of necessity, and giving each affected person a venue to be heard, before the Department of Water Resources may commence an eminent domain proceeding.(CCP §1245.210)
- Presenting its views to the Congressional appropriations committees on funding for flood control or reclamation projects being planned or constructed in California by the United States Army Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation. WC §12602)
- Implementing the Water Storage Investment Program, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Water Resources, by adopting, by regulation, methods for quantification and management of public benefits of water storage projects. (WC § 79754)
- Selecting water storage projects to fund, pursuant to the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1), based on the expected return for public investment determined by the magnitude of public benefits provided. (WC § 79753)
Learn more about the California Water Commission members on the Members page.
Learn about the Commission's California Native American Tribal Leadership Comment Policy.