As between appropriators, the one first in time is the first in right.
A person desiring to appropriate water must post a notice, in writing, in a conspicuous place at the point of intended diversion, stating therein:
1. That he claims the water there flowing to the extent of (giving the number) inches, measured under a four-inch pressure;
2. The purposes for which he claims it, and the place of intended use;
3. The means by which he intends to divert it, and the size of the flume, ditch, pipe, or aqueduct in which he intends to divert it.
A copy of the notice must, within ten days after it is posted, be recorded in the office of the recorder of the county in which it is posted. After filing such copy for record, the place of intended diversion or the place of intended use or the means by which it is intended to divert the water, may be changed by the person posting said notice or his assigns, if others are not injured by such change. This provision applies to notices already filed as well as to notices hereafter filed.
(Amended by Stats. 1903, Ch. 262.)
Within sixty days after the notice is posted, the claimant must commence the excavation or construction of the works in which he intends to divert the water, or the survey, road or trail building, necessarily incident thereto, and must prosecute the work diligently and uninterruptedly to completion, unless temporarily interrupted by snows or rain; provided, that if the erection of a dam has been recommended by the California dGbris commission at or near the place where it is intended to divert the water, the claimant shall have sixty days after the completion of such dam in which to commence the excavation or construction of the works in which he intends to divert the water; provided, that whenever any city and county, or any incorporated city or town within this state makes, or has made, or acquires, or has acquired any appropriation of any of the waters of this state in accordance with the provisions of section 1415 of this code, it shall not be necessary for such city and county, city or town to commence the work for development of more of the water so claimed than is actually necessary for the immediate needs of such city and county, city or town and it shall be held to be a sufficient compliance with the requirements of this chapter, to the full amount of water stated in the notice posted and recorded, for such city and county, city or town to within sixty days make the necessary surveys, or within six months to authorize the issuance of municipal bonds, for the construction of the necessary works designed to supply such city and county, city or town with the water required for immediate use. Any appropriation heretofore made by any such city and county, city or town in connection with which surveys were at any time made, or an issue of bonds authorized for the construction of any portion of the works necessary for a diversion of any part of the water appropriated, is hereby confirmed to the full amount of water stated in the original notice or notices.
(Amended by Stats. 1911, Ch. 730.)
By “completion” is meant conducting the waters to the place of intended use.
By a compliance with the above rules the claimant’s right to the use of the water relates back to the time the notice was posted.
A failure to comply with such rules deprives the claimants of the right to the use of the water as against a subsequent claimant who complies therewith.
Persons who have heretofore claimed the right to water, and who have not constructed works in which to divert it, and who have not diverted nor applied it to some useful purpose, must, after this Title takes effect, and within twenty days thereafter, proceed as in this Title provided, or their right ceases.
The Recorder of each county must keep a book, in which he must record the notices provided for in this Title.
If the place of intended diversion or any part of the route of intended conveyance of water so claimed, be within, and a part of, any national park, forest reservation, or other public reservation, and be so shown in the notice of appropriation of said water, then the claimant shall have sixty days, after the grant of authority to occupy and use such park or reservation for such intended purpose, within which to commence the excavation or construction of said works; provided that within sixty days after the posting of said notice of appropriation, as provided in section 1415 of the Civil Code, the claimant shall in good faith commence (and thereafter diligently and continuously, except when temporarily interrupted by snow or rain, prosecute to completion) such surveys and other work as under the regulations governing such park or reservations, may be required as preliminary to, or for use with, an application for such authority; and provided also that the claimant shall in good faith on completion of said survey and preliminary work, apply to the officer, board, or body, having charge of such park or reservation, for such authority, and shall thereafter, prosecute said application with reasonable diligence.
(Added by Stats. 1903, Ch. 272.)