The State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) mission is to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. Created by the State Legislature in 1967, the five-member Board protects water quality by setting statewide policy, coordinating and supporting the Regional Water Board efforts, and reviewing petitions that contest Regional Board actions. In 1969, the State Legislature enacted the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the cornerstone of today's water protection efforts in California.
There are nine regional water quality control boards statewide. The nine Regional Boards are semi-autonomous and are comprised of nine part-time Board members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Regional boundaries are based on wa¬tersheds and water quality requirements are based on the unique differences in climate, topography, geology and hydrology for each watershed. Each Regional Board makes critical water quality decisions for its region, including setting standards, issuing waste discharge requirements, deter¬mining compliance with those requirements, and taking appropriate enforcement actions.
The Water Boards regulate wastewater discharges to surface water (rivers, ocean, etc.) and to groundwater (via land). The Water Boards also regulate storm water discharges from construction, industrial, and municipal activities; discharges from irrigated agriculture; dredge and fill activities; the alteration of any federal water body under the 401 certification program; and several other activities with practices that could degrade water quality.
The SWRCB maintains “My Water Quality” web portal, supported by a wide variety of public and private organizations, which presents California water quality monitoring data and assessment information that may be viewed across space and time.