3940 State Water Resources Control Board
Program Descriptions


This program ensures the highest possible quality of water for the state. Specific activities include:

  • Formulating, adopting, and updating water quality control plans and policies that set standards and provide guidance in water management decisions.
  • Monitoring water quality to determine compliance with control plans, permit terms, conditions, and water standards; implement the Total Maximum Daily Load program to address pollution in the state's most seriously impaired water bodies by developing plans that allocate responsibility for reducing pollution.
  • Ensuring the waters of the state are not degraded by hazardous waste spills or tank leaks, or by spills or tank leaks from solid and hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
  • Requiring waste dischargers, including storm water dischargers, to prevent and abate water pollution and inspect dischargers to determine compliance with requirements.
  • Assisting owners and operators of underground tanks in financing the cleanup of unauthorized releases from their tanks.


This program works to protect and improve the health of all California residents by ensuring the safety of drinking water. The program establishes maximum contaminant levels to ensure drinking water is safe for consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes and overseeing permitting and enforcement related to public drinking water systems and environmental laboratories.


This program ensures that California's water resources are put to beneficial use, while protecting prior rights, water quality and the environment. Specific activities include:

  • Allocating the unappropriated waters of the state to ensure water is used in accordance with state laws.
  • Maintaining a record of title of appropriative water rights initiated and maintained since 1914, including those for stockponds, livestock and small irrigation and domestic use ponds.
  • Maintaining records of water diversion and use under riparian and pre-1914 rights and groundwater extractions in four southern counties.
  • Enforcing permit and license terms and conditions, abate illegal diversions, protect public trust resources, and prevent waste or unreasonable use under all rights.
  • Assisting the courts in determining existing rights to surface water throughout the state through court reference and statutory adjudication proceedings, and in determining rights to groundwater through the groundwater adjudication process.


This Program includes Department of Justice legal services to defend Water Board actions that protect and allocate California's water resources.


This program includes management, program and policy direction, budgeting, accounting, human resources, data processing, legislation and public information functions for agency programs, and coordinating with the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards.