The public trust doctrine requires the state to hold in trust designated resources for the benefit of the people. Traditionally, the public trust applied to commerce and fishing in navigable waters, but its uses were expanded in California in 1971 to include fish, wildlife, habitat and recreation.
In California, public trust was most notably invoked in a landmark 1983 case involving water use at Mono Lake.
California farmers are laboring under a daunting edict: They must stop over-pumping groundwater from beneath their ranches. The saving grace is that state law gives them more than 20 years to do it. Now, however, a landmark court ruling could force many farmers to curb their groundwater consumption much sooner than that, landing like a bombshell in the contentious world of California water.
Does California need to revamp the way in which water is dedicated to the environment to better protect fish and the ecosystem at large? In the hypersensitive world of California water, where differences over who gets what can result in epic legislative and legal battles, the idea sparks a combination of fear, uncertainty and promise.
Saying that the way California manages water for the environment “isn’t working for anyone,” the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shook things up late last year by proposing a redesigned regulatory system featuring what they described as water ecosystem plans and water budgets with allocations set aside for the environment.
The UC Berkeley School of Law along with stakeholders in Mono Lake will convene a symposium in Sacramento on Nov. 17 to mark the 20th anniversary of the State Water Resources Control Board’s decision to integrate the Water Code, Fish and Game Code and the common law of public trust to protect the lake and its tributary creeks.
Water nerds unite! You’re not going to want to miss this opportunity: the Mono Lake at 20: Past, Present, and Future symposium on November 17, 2014, in Sacramento, California. … Co-sponsors of the event: UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment; UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources; the Water Education Foundation; Mono Lake Committee; California Trout; and the Water and Power Law Group.
This drought year, as in those past, California water regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows critical to fish and wildlife. … There are, however, legal backstops to prevent harmful reductions in fish flows, even during a drought as severe as this one.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.
The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides background information on water rights, types of transfers and critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in 1996, the 2000 version offers expanded information on groundwater banking and conjunctive use … Colorado River transfers, CALFED’s Water Transfer Program and the role of private companies in California’s developing water market.
Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.
Rooted in Roman law, the public trust doctrine recognizes the public right to many natural resources including “the air, running water, the sea and its shore.”
The public trust doctrine requires the sovereign, or state, to hold in trust designated resources for the benefit of the people. Traditionally, the public trust applied to commerce and fishing in navigable waters, but its uses were expanded in California in 1971 to include fish, wildlife, habitat and recreation.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the area of origin laws, what they mean to those who claim their protections and the possible implications of the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation.