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
Section Number
Instruction Method
Online class

Association Credits

American Planning Assoc (AICP)
6.00 AICP hours
State Bar of California (MCLE)
6.00 MCLE hours

Section Notes

This is an online, remote learning course, which consists of 6 hours of content and curriculum that is taught with pre-recorded lectures as well all mandatory live Zoom session with the instructor(s). Pre-recorded lectures and live sessions are accessed via our Canvas learning system and Zoom. This course is the same length as a standard 1 day, in-person course, please be sure to plan your schedule accordingly. 

This course is open June 12 – June 14, 2024, with a live session on June 14 2:00-4:00 PM PST. 

Attendance of the live session(s) is mandatory to receive credit for this course.  

We allow registration through the 12:00 PM PST (noon) on the first day of the course. We cannot extend course access beyond 11:59 PM on last day of class, so students pursuing a late enrollment acknowledge that they will have less time to complete the materials. Please contact the course representative with any questions.  

Refund Deadline: June 5, 2024.  Refunds and/or enrollment transfers will not be approved after this date. 

Enrollment Policies

Drop requests (withdraw with a refund) will be approved, less a $30 processing fee, if the request is received seven calendar days before the course begins. Click here to view complete enrollment policy information including details on withdrawals and transfers.

Refund Deadline: June 5, 2024.  Refunds and/or enrollment transfers will not be approved after this date. 



Members can receive 10% discount on the course fee by entering the Coupon Code.  If you don’t have your association discount code, contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Student Services at (800) 752-0881.

Info Session Discount

Attendees of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Information Sessions may be eligible for $100 discount on a class by entering the Coupon Code provided at the Information Session.  Contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Student Services office, at (800) 752-0881, if you have questions about this discount.