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Overview of California Water Law and Policy

Understand the complex and contentious process of allocating California’s water resources. Gain a comprehensive overview of the legal and regulatory framework for surface water and groundwater rights, as well as the environmental laws that regulate water use. Topics include:

  • Allocation of surface water through appropriative and riparian rights
  • California's system of groundwater rights
  • Authority of the State Water Resources Control Board
  • Protecting Northern California’s area of origin laws
  • Environmental protections under the public trust doctrine, the Endangered Species Act, CEQA, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Fish and Game Code
  • California water institutions: the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Water Resources and local water agencies
  • Federal Reclamation Law and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act
  • Legal constraints on water transfers
  • Allocating interstate rivers: Colorado River Basin and Klamath River Basin
  • California's water hub: understanding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its regulatory and planning context


This course is not currently scheduled.
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Earn a Certificate

This course is part of these certificate programs:

Land Use and Environmental Planning