Stetson was appointed to the position of watermaster for the San Gregorio Creek Stream System (San Mateo County, California) in August 2006 by the San Mateo County Superior Court. The San Gregorio Creek Stream System is adjudicated, and the rights to the use of water from San Gregorio Creek were established under the court’s 1993 decree. San Gregorio Creek is also one of the highest priority watersheds in the California Coastal Commission’s list of Critical Coastal Areas and has been identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for coho salmon reintroduction and development of in-stream flow studies. As watermaster, Stetson’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the available supply of water is properly distributed in accordance with priorities and allocations of water specified in the decree.
Specific Watermaster duties include:
- Monitoring and evaluating streamgage data, precipitation data, and other hydrologic information to determine supply availability and issue notices to water users to reduce or cease water diversions when water supply is insufficient to meet demand;
- Evaluating water right transfers (and objections to transfers) and making recommendations to the court as to whether proposed transfers may injure other water right holders or adversely impact fish and wildlife;
- Instructing water users on the proper selection and installation of water meters to accurately measure diversions and use of water;
- Maintaining a database of metered water usage for decree water right holders to ensure allocations are not exceeded;
- Assisting with the preparation of water diversion and utilizing reports required by the State Water Resources Control Board; and
- Working directly with farmers, domestic water users, public entities, and private individuals to resolve disputes over water as they arise.