Latest Western Water Article Looks at How Court Decision Could Affect Groundwater Pumping in California
Pumping near Scott River in Siskiyou County sparks appellate case that extends public trust to some groundwater; explore maps and guides to learn more
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling forced Los Angeles to reduce its take of water from Eastern Sierra creeks that fed Mono Lake. It marked a dramatic shift in California water law by extending the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that fed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves are not.
Some 35 years later, an appellate court in Sacramento for the first time has concluded that the same public trust doctrine used in the Mono Lake decision also applies to groundwater feeding the navigable Scott River in a picturesque corner of far Northern California.
Western Water’s Gary Pitzer takes a look at the potential impact of this ruling in an era when local agencies around the state already are drafting plans to protect groundwater basins from being over pumped.
To learn more about groundwater in California check out our Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater, or the Groundwater Education Bundle, which includes a poster-size map of California groundwater basins in addition to the educational guide. And explore the Klamath River Watershed, where the Scott River is located, with our Klamath River Watershed Map. You can check out other educational guides and maps at www.watereducation.org/maps-guides