It sounds like some family in Northern California got into a pissing match with their homeowner's association and decided to file a complaint with the RWQCB. They allege that the lake in the gated community is an unreasonable use of water because of the seepage (the lake is unlined). They also say that the seepage has damaged their property.My assumption (to now) was that anything that people wanted to do with water was a "beneficial use," and I would have thought a "water feature" would qualify for beneficial use because of its (presumed) positive impact on property values.
The Regional Board seems to concur that the seepage "constituted misuse because it had 'damaged and thus likely devalued Complainants’ properties while serving no beneficial use.'”
My question is: could this possibly have repercussions on any unlined non-natural body of water? If seepage in an unlined pond is a non-beneficial use of water, could water be withheld from entities that have them?
Of course, IID was forced into the QSA (and selling water to SDCWA) with the threat that their use would be called "non-beneficial," but this is the first time I have heard of it being applied to residential use. As for CR's other question (unlined ponds), I have no opinion. Use is use.
The hearing has been delayed to Jan 28 [PDF]. I'm interested to hear what happens.
Bottom Line: Although we want people to use water wisely, bureaucratic judgments of "wise" are unlikely to be right or justifiable. If water were priced in a market (like oil or gasoline), then we'd not have to ask these silly questions.