Encroachment Permits

DWR's Encroachments and Relocations Section is responsible for overseeing policies and procedures for Encroachment Permit activities along the State Water Project (SWP) right-of-way throughout the state.

DWR's Encroachments and Relocations Section activities include:

  • General construction activities on or near the right-of-way
  • Construction of road or bridge improvements over pipelines or the aqueduct
  • Utility work
  • Crossings above or below the ground surface
  • Diversions of water onto the right-of-way
  • Commercial filming
  • Planting of vegetation
  • Certain types of farming activities

Water Code section 12899 and California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Division 2, Chapter 6, Articles 1 - 10 mandate that the use of any SWP right-of-way for any purpose requires written authorization from DWR, regardless of whether the State owns fee title or has an easement, license, permit, or joint use agreement.

These Regulations also set out the technical requirements that must be met to obtain an Encroachment Permit. These requirements ensure that the structural integrity of the SWP facilities are adequately protected before, during and after any activity on the right-of-way, and to ensure that the State's property rights and ability to operate and maintain its facilities are not infringed upon without the State's consent and concurrence.

Pursuant to Regulations section 610.2, you are required to contact the appropriate DWR Field Division Office for requests for temporary access or entry into the SWP right-of-way.

The Statute and Regulations also specifically prohibit certain activities which include, but are not limited to:

  • Drainage
  • Diversion
  • Storage
  • Distribution of water onto the right-of-way
  • Impeding the natural flow of water into or through the SWP system.
  • Unauthorized encroachments will be removed or abated at the expense of the encroacher

DWR must be notified of any pending subdivision of property within one mile of SWP facilities in accordance with Government Code 66455.1 to allow DWR the opportunity to evaluate potential effects of the proposed subdivision on SWP facilities, and to convey concerns to the local agency having jurisdiction for consideration in the tentative map approval process.

Even if your planned development does not fall within the requirements of Government Code 66455.1, but is within one mile of SWP facilities, it would be prudent to consider the potential effects of your project on SWP facilities and to consult with DWR if there appears to be even the slightest potential impact.

For your convenience, the links under Encroachment Permit docs on the right-hand side of this page allow access to the Encroachment Permit Regulations and Encroachment Permit Application form that will be a part of every Encroachment Permit issued. If you would like these documents mailed to you instead, or if you would like more information on whether or not your planned activity will require an Encroachment Permit for work within SWP right-of-way, call DWR toll free at (800) 600-4397. 

Related Pages

Contact Information

Division of Engineering

Department of Water Resources

P. O. Box 942836

1416 9th Street, Room 425

Sacramento, CA  94236-0001

Phone (toll free):  (800) 600-4397