Watermaster Activities

Protecting Water Resources

Protecting Our Water Resources


As a water rights steward for the Santa Ana River Watershed, Western works to protect this important resource by carefully monitoring the quantities of water taken by all regional agencies with rights to this critical resource. Western’s general manager also serves as a court-appointed guardian or watermaster, as required by two 1969 court rulings or adjudications. These judgments determined the rights of the watershed users and other watershed entities.  

Watermaster Functions


The court designated four public agencies – including Western – to represent the interests of the upper and lower areas of the Santa Ana River and gave the agencies responsibility to oversee the watershed and fulfill court-ordered obligations. Western is involved in four watermaster functions:

  • Chino Groundwater Basin – 1978 groundwater adjudication
  • Santa Ana River – 1969 surface water rights
  • San Bernardino Basin Area – 1969 groundwater adjudication
  • Santa Margarita River – 1964 surface and groundwater adjudication 
Watershed Steward

Western plays another vital role in protecting the watershed as an integral partner of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA). SAWPA’s goal is a sustainable Santa Ana River Watershed that’s salt-balanced, drought-proofed and supports economic and environmental vitality, as well as an enhanced quality of life. Western works in partnership with Eastern Municipal Water District,Inland Empire Utilities AgencyOrange County Water District and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District in maximizing water resources within the watershed.  
Additional Resources