Encroachment Permits

California Aqueduct near Milepost 16 and Tracy Hills Subdivision in Tracy, CA


The Encroachment Permit (EP) Program is the process by which DWR reviews and regulates third-party facility installations or alterations (Encroachments) to determine if there are conflicts with  State Water Project (SWP), facilities or operations. 

Encroachments are considered as the following general activities including, but not limited to:

  • General Construction activities on or near the SWP right of way.
  • Construction of road, parking areas, recreation trails, or bridge improvements over pipelines or the aqueduct
  • Installation/alteration/abandonment of utility facilities and/or crossings (above or below ground)
  • Diversions of water/drainage onto DWR right-of-way, obstructing any natural watercourse
  • Planting of vegetation/landscaping
  • Subdivisions
  • Grading
If DWR's determination is that the encroachment installation/alteration is consistent with the function, operation, maintenance, enlargement and rehabilitation of all portions of the facilities of the SWP, and is consistent with the Regulations, a DWR Encroachment Permit is issued.  A DWR Encroachment Permit is written authorization that allows the Permittee permission for specific facilities to be installed/altered within DWR's State Water Project right of way.

The SWP is a critical infrastructure to the State of California, providing water for approximately 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland throughout the state. In addition to the dams, reservoirs, mitigation property, and other infrastructure, the SWP right of way includes the California Aqueduct (CAAQ), which conveys water through canals, pipelines, and tunnels. As the design of the SWP buried conveyance facilities did not typically include loads from roads, parking lots, buildings, or other surface improvements, it is critical that DWR review and assess encroachments effect on the SWP through the EP Program to assure maximum protection of the SWP.  If any of these facilities fail, then water is not delivered, which can severely impact public safety. 

Encroachment Permit Regulations

Encroachment Permit Guidance Docs (for more comprehensive EP application packages):

Encroachment Permit FAQs:

Contact Information

Division of Engineering

Department of Water Resources

P. O. Box 942836

715 P Street, #5

Sacramento, CA  94236-0001

Phone (toll free):  (800) 600-4397


Email:  swp.encroachments@water.ca.gov