The Upper Los Angeles River Area (ULARA) encompasses the entire watershed of the Los Angeles River above its confluence with Arroyo Seco. Much of this watershed area is unincorporated and relatively remote, and is not served by a public water system. For property owners in these areas, private water wells may be the only feasible water supply. However, the City of Los Angeles (City) has a prior and paramount right to all surface water and groundwater within ULARA under its Pueblo water right.

Nevertheless, the City recognizes the desire of those private land owners in the watershed areas to develop and enjoy their properties. The City has determined that the groundwater beneath such areas may not currently be required by customers within City limits and is therefore available for sale to property owners outside of the City limits, subject to conditions set forth in a Water License Agreement between any such private land owner and the City.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has developed a Water License Agreement that allows private property owners in such watershed areas to pump a limited amount of groundwater that belongs to the City until a permanent water service becomes available.

The requirements include: the licensee must notify LADWP and the Watermaster that he/she intends to develop a local groundwater supply; the licensee agrees to report monthly groundwater pumping to the Watermaster Office; and then the licensee must pay LADWP for the amount of groundwater that is pumped. An annual administrative fee is also paid by the licensee to LADWP for that pumped groundwater. Water Licenses are renewable every five years.

The Water License Agreement protects the Pueblo water right of the City, while allowing property owners within unincorporated areas to develop their properties in a reasonable manner.

Please contact the Watermaster Office for more information.