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California Change in Ownership of Water Right (19-CA-d)

Developers may purchase water rights from existing water right holders. This flowchart outlines the relevant process to effect a change in ownership by notifying the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). In many cases the new owner (developer) of a water right may require a change in the purpose or place of use or point of diversion of the water right subsequent to a change in ownership. In those cases, the developer should be sure to return to the Water Rights and Water Access:
19-CA-a
flowchart, element 19-CA-a.18 at the conclusion of this flowchart. In other cases where the prior right holder completed the change in place or purpose of use or point of diversion before executing a change in ownership, the developer may continue with the project at the conclusion of this flowchart.


Change in Ownership of Water Right Process

19-CA-d.1 to 19-CA-d.2 – Notice of Change of Ownership of Water Right

The developer must submit a Notice of Change of Ownership to the SWRCB in conformance with §831. The SWRCB will review the notice to ensure it provides the necessary information. The Notice of Change of Ownership is also used to inform the SWRCB when the owner of right needs to update their address or contact information. As part of their the review, the SWRCB will seek verification that a change of ownership did in fact occur by matching the name on the assessor’s parcel number at the place of use of the water right with the name of the new owner. There is a presumption that a water right passes with a transfer of the land unless expressly excepted. §833

19-CA-d.3 to 19-CA-d.4 – Notify New Owner

After receiving a complete Notice of Change of Ownership and verifying that a change did in fact occur, the SWRCB will send notice of the change to the new owner, the primary previous owner, and any non-primary previous owners in order to ensure that all those with a stake in the water right prior to the change in ownership are aware of the change in ownership.

19-CA-d.5 to 19-CA-d.7 – Does the New Owner or any Notified Previous Owner Object to the Change?

All notified parties may object to the change in ownership within 30 days or forfeit their right to object. Where a notified party does object, the SWRCB no longer has authority and the matter must be adjudicated by the courts. §832. In such cases, the SWRCB may assist in the court adjudication by providing relevant information pertaining to the water right in question. Where no notified parties object, the developer may continue with the project. The SWRCB will not change its record of ownership until the court determines the matter or the parties come to a mutual agreement regarding ownership of the water right. §832.




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California State Water Resources Control Board
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Edit California State Water Resources Control Board
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