Topic: Water Rights

Overview

Water Rights

California hosts a substantial, complicated water rights system that allocates water across the state. In addition to a dual system — riparian and appropriate rights — today state courts are recognizing expanded public trust values in determining how the state’s water resources should be best used.

Water rights are governed mostly by state law. Water quality issues, which may affect allocation, are regulated separately by both federal and state laws. Water rights can be quite contentious.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The Lake Powell pipeline and the problems posed by the lack of a Lower Colorado River Basin Compact

As the Colorado River Basin’s managers wrestle with thorny questions around the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a colleague who works for a Lower Colorado River Basin water agency recently asked a question that goes to the heart of the future of river management: With land in the Lower Colorado River Basin, why doesn’t Utah have a Lower Basin allocation?

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA delivers roadmap to achieving voluntary agreements to state officials

ACWA on Oct. 15 submitted “A Roadmap To Achieving the Voluntary Agreements” to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top members of his Administration that calls on the state to take the necessary steps to re-engage on Voluntary Agreements regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its tributaries.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the district boundaries, including the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and infrastructure

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Nevada Supreme Court holds that state may not reallocate adjudicated water rights for public trust

On September 17, 2020, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision on whether Nevada’s public trust doctrine permits reallocation of water rights previously settled under Nevada’s prior appropriation doctrine. The majority found that the public trust doctrine does not permit such reallocation.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide water transfer completed

The Georgetown Divide Public Utility District reported Sept. 23 that its release of 2,000 acre-feet of water from Stumpy Meadows Reservoir to be transferred to the Westlands Water District has been successfully completed.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Walker Lake: Legal saga continues with endgame in question

According to river flow data, there is currently almost no water flowing into Walker Lake, a common condition. Today, where the riverbed meets the lake is an ooze of mud. The lake is all but biologically dead. But a decades-old public trust lawsuit made a move forward in its glacial process through federal courts last week, and advocates are hopeful Walker Lake, a cornerstone of the regional economy and ecology, can one day be revived.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Conflict over U.S.-Mexico water treaty escalates as farmers take La Boquilla Dam

Tensions between Mexico and the United States over water intensified this month as hundreds of Mexican farmers seized control of La Boquilla dam in protest over mandatory water releases. The protesters came from parched Chihuahua state, nearly 100 square miles of land pressed against the U.S. border, where farmers are opposing the delivery of over 100 billion gallons of water to the United States by October 24.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Happy 50th “Kern Riversary!” 1970 vote brought river into public hands

Fifty years ago this week, the Bakersfield City Council committed an audaciously historic act. On Monday evening Sept. 28, 1970, council members decided to sue Tenneco West for a slice of the Kern River.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How will climate change affect the economic value of water in California?

Climate change is affecting natural resources in California, with water being one of the most important in the state. Water source is critical for municipalities, agriculture, industry, and habitat/environmental purposes. Will future supply meet future demand? How will the economic value of water change over this century?

Aquafornia news Food & Water Watch

Blog: Blue Communities: Learn what they are and get started

The Blue Communities project found its origins in Canada’s fights against bottled water extraction and water privatization. … The goal of the project is to have local governments commit to become a Blue Community by passing local resolutions to protect the human right to water.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

What we know about a plan to settle the Ventura River litigation

Some of the largest users of the Ventura River recently released their proposal to settle litigation and potentially stave off a water-rights adjudication. The plan includes multiple habitat restoration projects intended to help endangered steelhead trout, but largely avoids any changes to water use. Before it goes to a judge, however, other parties likely will weigh in, including the state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Walker Lake group to take water suit back to federal court

Lawyers representing Mineral County and the Walker Lake Working Group announced this week they intend to take a water rights case with broad implications back to federal appeals court to ask whether Nevada can adjust already allocated water rights to sustain rivers and lakes long-term.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River to southwest Utah.

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Aquafornia news MarketWatch

Blog: Why we need water futures

Investors will be able to make wagers on the price of water later this year with the launch of futures contracts, which are expected to better balance supply and demand for the commodity and hedge price risks. … The index, itself, sets a weekly spot rate price of water rights in California, the majority of which are owned and managed by water districts that deliver water to individual farms…

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Aquafornia news E&E News

How the loss of Ginsburg will affect the term ahead

The absence of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court this coming term is unlikely to change the outcome of two looming battles over water rights and Endangered Species Act records, but legal experts say her death will have a lasting impact on environmental jurisprudence at the nation’s highest bench.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court ruled against reshuffling water rights to fix environmental issues. Walker Lake advocates still see a path forward

Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the state’s fundamental obligation to protect natural resources for future generations did not allow it to reallocate water rights issued under state law. The decision appeared to rule against litigants pushing to restore Walker Lake, where the use of upstream water rights has decreased the amount of water that reaches the lake.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Collaboration on the Colorado River between Mexico and the US brings benefits for both countries

At the September meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Laura Lamdin, an associate engineer in water resource management, gave a presentation on how the United States and Mexico built a collaborative relationship, the many accomplishments that have come as a result, and a look at the work currently in progress.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water article examines major report that tries to make sense of science vital to Colorado River management

Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it. Our latest article in Western Water news examines a new report that synthesizes and provides context for that science and could aid water managers as they prepare to rewrite the operating rules for a river system so vital to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Drought-hit Mexicans demand that water sharing with US ends

Protesters gathered on Sunday in drought-hit northern Mexico in an attempt to retain control of a dam key to government efforts to diffuse tensions over a water-sharing pact with the United States. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has been working to maintain a good relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, said on Friday that Mexico must comply with its obligations.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Ending conflicts over water

In recent years, a wide range of water-related factors have contributed to political instability, human dislocation and migration, agricultural and food insecurity, and in more and more cases, actual conflict and violence.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Water wars at the Supreme Court: ‘It’s only going to get worse’

The U.S. Supreme Court kicks off its new term next month with a unique “original jurisdiction” water dispute—the likes of which could become more common as the climate changes. The justices are set to hear Texas v. New Mexico, virtually, on their first day of oral arguments Oct. 5. Here’s how original jurisdiction water cases work, what’s at stake this term, and what’s on the horizon.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court says state cannot change water rights for ‘public trust,’ a loss for environmentalists, county

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot reshuffle existing water rights to prevent environmental damage, despite recognizing a legal principle that requires the government to preserve natural resources for future generations… The Nevada court, in a 4-2 decision, separated itself from the California Supreme Court, which reached the opposite conclusion in a landmark 1980s case.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater externalities and the agricultural response to water pricing

Dr. Ellen Bruno is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. At a recent Silver Solutions webinar, she shared some of the preliminary results on a paper she is working on… The study considers the impacts of agricultural water pricing and the effect on water use and land use change.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District files opposition in state Supreme Court fight with Michael Abatti

The years-long fight between the Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti over control of Colorado River water could be nearing its grand finale in the California Supreme Court. After Abatti requested last month that the state’s highest judicial body take up his case, the water district filed its opposition on Monday.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water board must establish a state water budget that California can afford

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt writes that a “Grand Bargain” in California water is needed to end the “political culture of deferral” and allow major water projects to advance. On the contrary, what’s needed is an adult regulator that will make hard choices that water users refuse to make.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican water wars: Dam seized, troops deployed, at least one killed in protests about sharing with U.S.

Mexico’s water wars have turned deadly. A long-simmering dispute about shared water rights between Mexico and the United States has erupted into open clashes pitting Mexican National Guard troops against farmers, ranchers and others who seized a dam in northern Chihuahua state.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

2 die in gunfight with Mexican police in US water transfer dispute

The Mexican National Guard said Wednesday that two people had died in a gunfight with military police near a protest at a dam that diverts water away from an area hit by drought to the United States. … The protest comes amid plans to divert more to the United States due to a “water debt” Mexico has accrued under a 1944 water-sharing treaty between the countries.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Making the most of water for the environment

Restoring specific “functional flows” would better support fish migration and spawning, water quality, dry-season base flows, and physical conditions that support aquatic species. A panel of experts, moderated by PPIC senior fellow and study coauthor Jeff Mount, discussed how to put this approach into practice. We invite you to watch the event video.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘Until the Last Drop’ documentary explains California water wars

The water wars are far from over, a point made clear in a just-released feature-length documentary, “Until the Last Drop.” If you can block from your mind the old Folgers “good to the last drop” commercials, the film title will evoke a combination of dripping water with a fight to the last drop of blood.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona endorses GSC Farm LLC’s plan to sell Colorado River water to Queen Creek

Arizona’s top water regulator has endorsed a company’s proposal to take water from farmland near the Colorado River and sell it to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek. The plan, which still would require federal approval, has generated a heated debate about whether transferring water away from the farming community of Cibola could harm the local economy, and whether the deal would open the gates for more companies to buy land near the river with the sole aim of selling off the water for profit.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Big Springs residents: Water trucking for illegal marijuana grows hasn’t stopped

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors discussed issues that Big Springs area residents are still facing regarding alleged privatized water sale for illegal marijuana grows. Despite an urgency ordinance prohibiting the trucking of water and a rally near one of the alleged extraction sites on Aug. 22, residents say they’re still noticing trucking going on.

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Aquafornia news The Willits News

California Water Justice and Tribal Advocates announce week of action

The organizers of the Advocacy and Water Protection in Native California Speakers Series are hosting a new webinar series aimed at taking action against environmental racism and for water justice in California. Humboldt State University Native American Studies and Save California Salmon are organizing the “Mobilizing for Water Justice in California” Webinar Series on Sept. 14-18.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Coyote Springs developer sues state of Nevada for ‘unconstitutional taking’ of water rights

A developer is suing Nevada’s Division of Water Resources after the state again denied plans to construct new homes at Coyote Springs, the latest setback in a decades-long effort to build a sprawling master-planned community about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. Coyote Springs Investment alleges state officials made a series of decisions that amount to an “unconstitutional taking” of the water rights it owns and planned to use.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Tribes, green groups sue over Trump rollback of water rights

The new suit, filed Tuesday on behalf of three different tribal groups and the Sierra Club, argues states and tribes have a right to place conditions on federal projects that could degrade waters within their borders or to reject them altogether. “These changes that cut into the tribe’s ability to protect its waters and fish harm us all,” Anthony Sampson, chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada, said in a release.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: San Diego’s puzzling pursuit of a big new pipeline to the Colorado River

My puzzlement was goosed by a report that surfaced last week at a board meeting of one of its member agencies suggesting that the general managers of agencies representing the majority of the Water Authority’s actual water-using member agencies don’t seem to want it.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada residents blast Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

A group of residents in Laughlin, Nev., which sits along the Colorado River, are organizing a campaign to oppose a pipeline that would divert billions of gallons of river water to southwest Utah, reflecting intensifying struggles over water in the U.S. West.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Board provides update on water-rights report filings

About two-thirds of required water-rights reports had been filed as of this year’s deadline, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Farmer Michael Abatti is fighting to the end in legal tussle with Imperial Irrigation District

Attorneys for farmer Michael Abatti on Monday filed a petition requesting that the California Supreme Court take up a case against the Imperial Irrigation District, continuing the battle for control over California’s Colorado River water allotment. This latest court filing calls on the court to rule that Imperial Valley farmers have a right to water ownership, which currently resides with the district.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Water agency approves 7,000-percent cost increase

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority voted 4-1 to pass the replenishment fee despite significant public opposition. … Although residential users will see an estimated $24 per month increase, Searles Valley Minerals will see a 7,000-percent increase in water costs.

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Aquafornia news ScienceAlert.com

Blog: Up to half the world’s water supply is being stolen, a troubling report reveals

There is some debate about what counts as water theft – or even if it exists at all, as water is a natural resource that we all have access to. But the team looked at three separate case studies involving improper water use: growing marijuana in California, strawberries in Spain, and cotton in Australia.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Utility District starts water transfer to Westlands

With all permits in place, on Aug. 20 the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District announced the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights approved the temporary transfer of up to 2,000 acre-feet of GDPUD’s water to the Westlands Water District. The transfer of the water began Aug. 19 and is expected to continue until Sept. 23.

Aquafornia news Valley News

Opinion: Water delivery agreement between Elsinore Valley and LEAPS project ended years of litigation and defined roles

As the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage, or LEAPS, hydroelectric project proceeds with licensing approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, local roles have been defined with a water delivery agreement following years of litigation over project details.

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Opinion: Responsible and prudent water management

Tuolumne Utilities District doesn’t believe differing opinions about finite resources, like water, are “battles.” Differing opinions are simply the result when you ask any group how to prioritize the use of a finite resource when need outstrips supply.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Hoopa Valley Tribe files lawsuit to block contract with Central Valley agribusiness

The Hoopa Valley Tribe has filed a federal lawsuit to block the U.S. Department of Interior from signing a water delivery contract with an agribusiness in the Central Valley, an agreement which would divert water out of the Trinity River basin 400 miles away.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Court rules in favor of Klamath Irrigation District, state water rights

A win for state water rights came earlier this month after the Marion County Circuit Court ruled that the Bureau of Reclamation cannot release water from Upper Klamath Lake for flows down the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Opinion: Facts show holes in Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unlikely source promises (a little) water for the Kern River

The City of Bakersfield is poised to ink a deal with Buena Vista Water Storage District that will provide at least some water in the riverbed through the main part of the city between April and June — even in drier years.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District scores another win in court battle with farmer Michael Abatti

A California appellate court on Wednesday denied Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti’s request for a rehearing in his long-running legal fight with the Imperial Irrigation District over control of Colorado River water. The decision could likely spell the end to his legal challenges.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Supreme Court’s 2020–2021 preview: Interstate water rights

In the 2020–2021 session, the Court likely will issue rulings that could alter the landscape of interstate water disputes and impact millions of people and thousands of businesses who rely on interstate water resources. A preview of the four cases slated for the 2020–2021 session and potential implications follows.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Water, a public resource: How privatization happens

As it is our most vital resource, we each have a moral responsibility to see that everyone has access to it. But, what occurs when access to clean water is sold off and exploited? The result is lower quality and a threat to public health in the name of easy profit.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath Irrigation District scores victory in water rights case

Earlier this year, Reclamation released water from Upper Klamath Lake — impounded by the Link River Dam in Klamath Falls — to boost streamflows for coho salmon in the lower Klamath River. But the Klamath Irrigation District sued, claiming the bureau does not have an established right from the Oregon Water Resources Department to use the stored water.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district asks state for Carmel River cutback relief

With a new water supply delayed by state regulatory agencies and political infighting, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board has asked the state water board not to impose Carmel River water reductions due to an inevitable violation of an approaching river cutback order milestone…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Fixing the Colorado River is tough. Good thing Arizona started early

The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.

Aquafornia news Arizona Department of Water Resources

News release: A user- friendly, one-stop shop for insight on AZ’s water resources

In many respects, the Arizona Water Blueprint – a data-rich, interactive map of Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure created by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University – could not have been rolled out at a better time. Research into Arizona’s varied sources of water is approaching an all-time high.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in lawsuit against Met

Following the Imperial Irrigation District’s recent win on a monumental water case in California’s appellate court against Michael Abatti, the water district is back in court filing the opening brief against the other large water district is Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Valley farmers look to Kern River tributary to replenish groundwater

A Kern County water agency is facing a wall of opposition against its plan to harvest up to 12,000 acre feet of water from the South Fork of the Kern River above Lake Isabella and bring it to valley farms and homeowners in northwest Bakersfield.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Vehicles burned in Mexico to protest US water payment

Demonstrators in northern Mexico have burned several government vehicles, blocked railway tracks and set afire a government office and highway tollbooths to protest water payments to the United States.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face a range of hurdles.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

MID and TID reach key milestone on Tuolumne River fish flows

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated its support once again for the fishery releases proposed by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The action reaffirmed FERC findings in February 2019 that dismissed pleas from environmental and sport-fishing groups for much higher flows.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State Water Board has authority to implement temporary water curtailments without evidentiary hearing

The Third Appellate District has ruled that the State Water Resources Control Board has the authority to issue temporary emergency regulations and curtailment orders which establish minimum flow requirements, regulate unreasonable use of water, and protect threatened fish species during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Roseville Today

Placer County, PCWA split $12 million revenue distribution

In 1961, Placer County voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of bonds to finance construction of the Middle Fork American River Hydroelectric Project (MFP). Nearly 60 years later, with the bonds fully paid and financial reserves fully funded, the first-ever distribution of net revenue from the MFP has been made…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Thursday Top of the Scroll: River agreements stall amid focus on Delta litigation

With state and federal administrations fighting in court about delta water operations—and with a pandemic and election year both underway—work has slowed on voluntary agreements meant to avoid severe cuts to northern San Joaquin Valley water supplies. At issue is the first phase of a State Water Resources Control Board plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California settles fight over hoarded dam water

As part of a settlement reached with fishing and environmental groups, the California State Water Resources Control Board says it will increase transparency and conduct heightened evaluations when deciding water quality standards and flow limits for the state’s critical waterways. … Environmentalists celebrated the deal as a “landmark settlement” that stands to boost protections for fish by improving water quality in the Sacramento River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Court of Appeal holds that Imperial Irrigation District landowners only have a right to water service, not individual rights to district-held water

On appeal, the court held that the District’s water allocation methodology in the “equitable distribution plan” was reasonable and not an abuse of discretion, and that Abatti and the other farmers in IID only hold an interest in, or right to, water service.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Opinion: Nevada should challenge Utah’s move for a Lake Powell pipeline

Legal scholars believe that the Lake Powell pipeline would likely violate the 1922 Colorado River Compact as a transfer of upper basin water (WY, UT, CO, NM) for lower basin use (CA, NV, AZ). The lower basin has priority, and the compact arguably prohibits transfers from the upper to lower basin absent explicit congressional authorization

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

More clashes in Mexico over repaying U.S. water debt

Farmers once again clashed with Mexican military forces Sunday to protest releases of water from a dam to repay a water debt owed to the United States. … Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico owes the United States about 415,000 acre-feet yearly that must be paid by Oct. 24. Mexico has fallen badly behind in payments from previous years and now has to quickly catch up on water transfers.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

New petition demands water be put back in Kern River in Bakersfield

“The people of Bakersfield need a flowing river — with water in a thriving river parkway, quality of life in Bakersfield will be significantly improved,” says the petition, posted recently by local resident Jonathan Yates on Change.org.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District retains control over Colorado River water in legal tussle with farmer Michael Abatti

The Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti have been locked in a years-long legal battle with as many twists as the river over which it has been fought. The saga might finally come to an end, though, after a California appellate court handed down a ruling on Thursday that found IID is the rightful manager of the portion of the Colorado River guaranteed to the Imperial Valley.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

A more modest Sites Reservoir focuses on environment

The latest proposal would trim the budget by $2 billion and the storage capacity by about 300,000 acre-feet, according to Jerry Brown, the new executive director of the project. Sites would use existing canals for conveyance rather than build new pipelines. The plan also eliminates a pumped-storage system for generating and storing energy during high flow events. He said the business case for that element of the project “just didn’t pencil out.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID seeks Salton Sea consideration in Colorado River water lawsuit

The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton Sea is also considered.

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Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Forest Service: Water activities prohibited during Karuk Tribe’s world renewal ceremonies

The Karuk Tribe is set to hold its World Renewal Ceremonies in Six Rivers and Klamath national forests from July through late September. In honor of these long-standing tribal traditions, outsiders will be prohibited from entering the water or launching watercraft during the ceremonies, the U.S. Forest Service has announced in a press release.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Opinion: State water board trying to drain away Merced County’s chief supply

Less than a week before Christmas in 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board held a single public hearing in our community. The topic? Draining our community’s water supply and sending it to the Bay Delta.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County-wide agency proposed to deal with all water issues

Napa County’s water world is a blur of agencies serving busy cities and remote, rural subdivisions, prompting a new study to recommend a degree of unity… Among the big ideas is forming a countywide water district. There are smaller ideas too, with opportunities for collaboration in different ways.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Court of Appeal upholds State Board’s broad power to regulate riparian and pre-1914 appropriative water rights to protect threatened fish

The Third Appellate District in Stanford Vina Ranch Irrigation Co. v. State found that the State Board could promulgate emergency drought regulations and issue curtailment orders necessary to protect threatened fish. While riparian and pre-1914 appropriative water right holders have the highest priority among water right claimants, the court held that those rights must yield to the State Board’s broad authority to regulate reasonable uses of water under article X, section 2 of the California Constitution.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft

An independent audit of Baja California’s water agency alleges that former employees of the utility colluded with international corporations to defraud the state out of at least $49.4 million, according to an auditor and the governor of the state.Local and international corporations — including such well-known U.S. names as Coca-Cola, FedEx and Walmart — for years took water for use in their Mexican factories, retail stores and distribution centers without fully paying for it, Baja California officials have alleged.

Aquafornia news Kronick

Blog: Court of Appeal reaffirms State Water Board’s authority to regulate unreasonable use through emergency regulations and curtailment orders

On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the State Water Resources Control Board’s (“State Water Board” or “Board”) authority to regulate what it deems to be an unreasonable use of water, in this case through adoption of emergency regulations establishing minimum instream flow requirements to protect migration of threatened fish species during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Without agreements on water, California needs to set new objectives and protections for the Delta

For more than a decade, California’s governors have pushed for “voluntary agreements” to establish rules for water diversions by major urban and agricultural water districts, and to redress their environmental impacts. Voluntary agreements crumbled recently, after the state’s largest water districts walked away from the table.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Appellate court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek

On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources Control Board lawfully adopted emergency regulations and curtailment orders … in 2014 and 2015 during a period of severe and persistent drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Turlock won’t bail on Ceres & joint surface water plant

The Turlock City Council was entertaining thoughts of backing out of the project, which would have left only Ceres undertaking the project to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to homes. Last week the council voted unanimously to proceed with the project. The two cities form the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority which is expected to award a design-build contract to CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc. this month.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next, while other states have had more informal discussions.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: A Trojan horse with a state water grab inside

With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in 2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Aquafornia news Native News Online

Northern California tribes praise Supreme Court refusal to hear Klamath project case

American Indian tribes in California’s Klamath Basin praised Monday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court not to hear the Klamath Project irrigators’ Fifth Amendment water rights case, Baley v. United States. By not hearing the case, the Supreme Court upheld the Klamath Tribes’ treaty water rights as the most senior water rights in the Klamath Basin. These water rights are critical to protect the tribes’ fisheries and traditional way of life.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Justices won’t wade into fight over Klamath water rights

Farmers won’t get paid for river water they lost out on during a drought in southern Oregon, because Native American tribes have water rights that rank above those of irrigators, stretching back to “time immemorial” — a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court refused to disturb on Monday.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district board opposes Cal Am desal project

For the first time, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District has formally expressed opposition to the California American Water desalination project, backing the proposed Pure Water Monterey recycled water project expansion instead… At the same time, the district took another step toward potential acquisition of Cal Am’s Monterey water system with the release of a draft environmental impact report on the proposed public buyout effort.

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Scott River notice of water unavailability

With dry conditions resulting in low flows and threatening the survival of coho salmon, the State Water Board today sent notices of water unavailability to110 junior water right holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging them to stop diverting.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer

The water agency is close to finishing a water transfer agreement with Westlands Water District. The agreement will call for selling up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings counties.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado River water battle comes to a boil in California

There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week

Aquafornia news Politico

Video: America’s environmental future: The water solution

On Monday, June 15, POLITICO held a virtual deep-dive panel discussion on the policies and legislation needed at the state, regional and federal levels to meet the water needs of Western states and secure long-term solutions at a time when the attention and resources of local and state leaders are consumed by the pandemic crisis.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Nevada water order kills real estate project

Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful of spring-fed desert pools…

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Fourth Appellate hears Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District water rights case

The Fourth Appellate Court of California heard the Abatti parties vs. Imperial Irrigation lawsuit, Friday, June 12. The appeal was generated after Imperial County Superior Court Judge Brooks Anderholt ruled in Abatti’s favor of repealing the Equitable Distribution Plan in August 2017, which could ration agricultural water users by historical and straight-line measurements to deal with the longest drought in modern California history.

Aquafornia news CarsonNow.org

Nevada State Engineer issues order to ensure sustainable water development in Lower White River flow system

Nevada is in a new era of water management. As the driest state in the nation, responsible and sustainable management of Nevada’s limited water resources is the foremost priority of the Nevada Division of Water Resources. As part of this commitment, Monday the Nevada State Engineer issued Order No. 1309 for one of Nevada’s most important and unique hydrographic basins called the Lower White River Flow System.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation rescinds ‘Shasta-critical’ designation for CVP deliveries

Projected higher inflows to Shasta Lake caused the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month to rescind its “Shasta Critical Year” designation after hydrologic conditions changed sufficiently. … For growers with senior water rights under the Exchange and Settlement contracts with the Central Valley Project, this means full allocation water deliveries will be forthcoming.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti square off in court

Water is power in California’s Imperial Valley, and a years-long fight over allocations from the Colorado River to the agriculture-heavy region landed back in court on Friday. Attorneys representing local farmers and the Imperial Irrigation District squared off in front of a three-judge panel at the state appellate court level over a water-rights lawsuit expected to be decided in 90 days.

Aquafornia news Gold Country Media

City of Folsom talks transfer sale of excess water

“In short, the city is looking to sell/transfer up to 5,000 acre-feet of water in 2020. This water is in excess to what the city would need to meet demands in 2020 and would not impact any existing customers north or south of Highway 50…” said Christine Brainerd, city of Folsom communications director. … The city retains the rights to the water.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Public comment for Lake Powell Pipeline open, again, until September

Comments, questions and concerns are now being accepted, again, for the Lake Powell Pipeline. This comes after the Bureau of Reclamation issued the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline, which is designed to pump water to Washington County, Utah.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Understaffed and ‘struggling,’ Central Valley Water Board trims programs

While the budget for next year has yet to be passed, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board is already taking drastic steps to prepare for a significant reduction in staffing. Farmers could face a potential fallout further down the road. “All told, the board is looking at around a 30 to 35% reduction in productivity,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer for the regional board, during a meeting Thursday.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Opinion: Special meeting to decide Turlock’s water future

Since it was founded in 1871, the City of Turlock has relied on well or ground water to meet the water needs of its citizens, farmers and businesses. Today, with the growth of Turlock to nearly 75,000 residents, successful farming, a growing local business community, Turlock needs more water and must move to surface water usage.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona housing growth tees up opportunity for water investors

Central Arizona has been booming — more people, more houses, more need for water. There’s also a long-term drought, and less water to buy from the Central Arizona Project canal system . It’s leading Phoenix exurbs to cast about, looking for new buckets. Other regions of the state say: don’t come here.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Inyo County loses court case on environmental laws in seeking to take L.A.’s land and water rights

In a ruling published last week, a California Superior Court made a sweeping ruling against Inyo County’s attempted eminent domain takeover of Los Angeles’ land and water rights. The years-long pursuit by Inyo has effectively been sent back to the drawing board and will require not only a complete restart, but also comprehensive environmental review, in order for Inyo to proceed.

Aquafornia news Arizona Department of Water Resources

News release: Roberto Salmón, Mexican commissioner, steps down from position with International Boundary Waters Commission

In his time with the commission, which has the responsibility for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico, the two nations have taken huge steps forward in assuring that commitments to the primary binational water agreement in the Southwest – the 1944 Mexico-U.S. Water Treaty – were faithfully upheld.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Is this the end of a 30-year fight over a proposed water pipeline?

On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab.”  The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water Network.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Springs Sun

Opinion: Secretary Babbitt’s river plan doesn’t go far enough

When former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt suggested in a recent opinion piece that a portion of agricultural water rights on the Colorado River should be transferred to urban areas, it no doubt conjured up some strong emotions… But Babbitt’s proposal makes sense and he is right about the need to recognize the mismatch in population between the urbanized West and rural areas where most of the basin’s water is allocated.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Business Journal

Cadiz finds new focus

The company’s long-term goal is still to complete a project to allow the transfer of up to 1.6 billion gallons of water a year from an aquifer under its land to six Southern California water agencies. But for the short-term, Cadiz is looking toward agricultural development on its 45,000 acres of land about 30 miles northeast of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water rights 101

California water law is complex, governed by both state and federal law, part property law and part environmental law. The system incorporates a traditional water rights riparian system with the appropriative system found elsewhere in the West with the result being confusion that often leads to more questions than certainty.

Aquafornia news Environmental Protection Online

Big corporations contribute to water shortages — how can they fix it?

As big corporations consume mass amounts of water, the smaller, local communities near the plants, factories and corporate offices have fewer resources. Water shortages then become prevalent as the corporation continues to use up the nearby sources. … In order to make a meaningful change for smaller communities, big corporations will need to work on alternatives.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Daily Post

Opinion: Concerning the Colorado River

While Imperial Irrigation District has the largest right within California, it was not the Imperial Valley that was responsible for California’s overuse. That was the Metropolitan Water District. We are among the very oldest users on the Colorado River and have built a community, ecology, and way of life here in the desert dependent upon the waters of the Colorado that have sustained us since 1901.

Aquafornia news BNamericas

Mexico poised to breach 75-year water treaty with US

Under the 1944 treaty, the US is committed to sending 1.5mn acre-feet of water from the Colorado River basin to Mexico in 12-month periods, which represents 10% of the river’s average flow, according to the US Congressional Research Service. Meanwhile, Mexico must send 1.75mn acre-feet in five-year cycles from the Rio Grande’s six major tributaries that cross its territory.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

New front opens in fight over the Lake Powell pipeline

The water rights behind the proposed Lake Powell pipeline are not actually coming from the project’s namesake lake, but rather from the major reservoir upstream on the Green River. Now, Utah water officials’ new request to overhaul those rights has handed opponents a fresh opportunity to thwart the proposed pipeline just as federal officials are about to release a long-awaited environmental review of the $1.2 billion project…

Aquafornia news Greenbiz.com

Here’s how California’s water laws were made

This is an excerpt from “Ruling the Waters: California’s Kern River, the Environment, and the Making of Western Water Law” by Douglas R. Littlefield, published in May 2020.

Aquafornia news Audubon

News release: Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon agree to funding plan to conserve Colorado River water

The National Audubon Society has reached an agreement with the Arizona Department of Water Resources to help fund the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ on-going efforts to conserve 150,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over the next three years.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Westlands Water District is again eyeing San Joaquin River water

Westlands Water District sent shockwaves through the Central Valley water world recently after it alerted several districts that it intends to apply for rights to flood flows on the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Putah Creek Accord, now 20, remains key to habitat restoration, water flows

It was during the drought in the late-1980s that Robin Kulakow and her fellow birdwatchers began noticing that Putah Creek was running dry. The same observation was being made at places such as Camp Davis, a popular site near the university where youth paddled their canoes and participated in other activities.

Aquafornia news City of Riverside

Video: Documentary features life of noted Riverside water law attorney Arthur L. Littleworth

Arthur L. Littleworth, a Riverside community leader and preeminent water attorney with Best Best & Krieger LLP, is profiled in a new documentary released by Riverside TV, the city’s in-house production studio. 

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Southern Nevada Water Authority: Las Vegas water pipeline plan shelved

Citing conservation gains and a third straw to the bottom of Lake Mead, the Southern Nevada Water Authority on Thursday voted to shelve a proposal for a multi-billion pipeline that would have moved water from Northern and Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The vote means the pipeline staunchly opposed by rural communities, American Indian tribes and conservationists is dead – or at least going into a long, deep coma.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

North-south water transfer lawsuit filed

A local non-profit is suing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a Southern California water district, over a long term water transfer program. AquAlliance works to protect the Sacramento River watershed. It is the main plaintiff in a lawsuit that charges the proposed transfer would send too much water out of Northern California and would cause severe impacts on area communities, farms, and the environment.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California court of appeal holds noncontiguous landowner has a riparian right to Middle River based on extrinsic evidence

On May 7, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a much-anticipated ruling in Modesto Irrigation District (MID) v. Tanaka, (Super. Ct. No. 34-2011-00112886-CU-JR-GDS) holding that the question of whether a landowner of noncontiguous real property has a riparian right depends upon the intent of the parties at the time of conveyance of the land, and such intent may be inferred from extrinsic evidence.

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Aquafornia news Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide PUD approves water sale to Westlands Water District

Taking the opportunity to bring in some extra revenue, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors approved the sale of up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands Water District at a price of $350 an acre-foot.

Aquafornia news Plumas News

Agency petitions state water board for temporary change

South Feather Water & Power Agency proposes to transfer the water from July through November 2020 to participating agencies of the State Water Contractors and the Central Valley Project (CVP). The transfer would involve up to 5,000 AF of water previously stored in Little Grass Valley Reservoir under Permit 1267, and up to 5,001 AF of water previously stored in Sly Creek Reservoir under Permit 2492.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Drought, water shortages return to much of state

The return of drought to California has been widespread—58% of the state now experiences some level of dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor—with extreme drought concentrated in 4% of the state, primarily in the northwestern region of Siskiyou, Trinity and Humboldt counties.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Protesters ‘SLAPPback’ as water fight boils over

Four years ago, nine activists in the small town of Weed, Calif., were railing against an Oregon timber company threatening the city’s water supply. … Now, the Weed 9 are going one step further. Two weeks ago, they filed a “SLAPPback” lawsuit against the attorneys who represented the timber company. They are seeking damages.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion – Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how less than 10% of farmland could solve the Colorado River’s water deficit

There is a better, more equitable pathway for reducing the deficit without forcing arbitrary cuts. It involves 3 million acres of irrigated agriculture, mostly alfalfa and forage crops, which consume more than 80% of total water use in the basin. By retiring less than 10% of this irrigated acreage from production, we could eliminate the existing million acre-foot overdraft on the Colorado River..

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Undercurrents of the Kern River’s flow are thick with intrigue, outrage

Water is flowing through the heart of Bakersfield in the Kern River and local water managers are shaking their heads in disbelief and frustration. Except, that is, for Art Chianello. Chianello is Bakersfield’s Water Resources Department director and the man behind the healthy flow currently being enjoyed by numerous residents as springtime temperatures heat up.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Term 91 curtailments expected; other water rights curtailments unlikely

During the May 5, 2020 State Water Resources Control Board Meeting, Staff and Board members provided an update on prospective water rights curtailments for 2020.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Tribes need a seat at the Colorado River negotiating table

There are 29 federally recognized tribes across the Colorado River Basin. Together, these tribes have water rights to roughly 20% of the water that flows through the river annually. In Arizona, the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) and the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) were critical partners in making the Drought Contingency Plan possible.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Restore the Delta webinar on voluntary agreements

In mid-April of 2020, Restore the Delta hosted a webinar where they discussed the history of water planning and the voluntary agreements, including their numerous concerns. … Before addressing the main topic of the webinar, Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parilla noted that there are many in the Delta who aren’t on the webinar due to lack of reliable internet service in rural communities, affordability issues, and/or lack of access to devices.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Las Vegas pipeline outcome offers new opportunity

Rural and urban Nevada can both rest a little easier now that the massive pipeline project is not at the forefront of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans. But there is still plenty of work to do to protect and expand the water supply in Las Vegas while doing the same in rural parts of the state.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Oregon Water Resources Dept. takes charge of Upper Klamath Lake

Oregon Water Resources Director Thomas Byler sent a letter to Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office manager Jeff Nettleton on Thursday, confirming it has taken exclusive charge of Upper Klamath Lake… The order said it prohibits U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from diverting stored water in Upper Klamath Lake through Link River for purposes of a 50,000 acre-feet flushing flow without a water right.

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Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah county does an about-face, pulls out of Lake Powell pipeline project

For the past decade, Kane County leaders have argued their southern Utah community will need water piped from the Colorado River to meet future needs, but the local water district abruptly announced Thursday it was pulling out of the costly Lake Powell pipeline project, leaving Washington County as the only remaining recipient of the water.

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Aquafornia news Sacramento Water Forum

News release: Water Forum marks 20 years of collaboration and progress on the Lower American River

When the Water Forum Agreement was officially signed 20 years ago, the occasion marked an unprecedented show of regional cooperation. For years, interests representing business, the environment, water suppliers and others had sparred over the water needs of people vs. the environment of the lower American River.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Parties support request for Supreme Court review in water takings case

The case was filed in late 2001, the year there was an announcement that no water would be available for Klamath Project irrigation from Upper Klamath Lake. The plaintiffs claim that if the water is taken under the Endangered Species Act, the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires payment of compensation for the water right, a form of property, that has been taken.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Framework for agreements to aid health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a starting point with an uncertain end

Voluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. … Yet, no one said it would be easy getting interest groups with sometimes sharply different views – and some, such as farmers, with livelihoods heavily dependent on water — to reach consensus on how to address the water quality and habitat needs of the Delta watershed.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water authority shelves controversial Las Vegas pipeline project

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a portion of its water rights.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The evolution of environmental flows in California

Ted Grantham is a Cooperative Extension Specialist at UC Berkeley and the CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California. … In this presentation, Dr. Grantham discussed environmental flows and the policy context in California in which environmental flows are managed and how that has evolved over time.

Aquafornia news East County Today

Antioch to receive $27 million settlement from California’s Department of Water Resources

The agreement pays Antioch $27 million, which guarantees that they will be able to utilize its 150-year old water rights and remain in the Delta for the long-term. The $27 million, in addition to $43 million in State grants and loans, completes the financing for the $70m Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

Aquafornia news Corning Observer

Battle Creek in Tehama County site of grant funding

Lower Battle Creek in Tehama County is one of the 19 waterways to be part of the Wildlife Conservation Board $24.3 million grant program set to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. … The project will dedicate water rights to instream flow in the lower 7.3 miles of Battle Creek to restore dwindling Chinook salmon and steelhead

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Environmental review for public water takeover bid gets under way

A full environmental review of a proposed public buyout of California American Water’s local water system is underway despite the coronavirus pandemic that a top Monterey Peninsula Water Management District official says has slowed work on the takeover bid.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State water agencies expect water use reporting to continue as normal as California shelters in place

On March 19, 2020, California issued Executive Order N-25-20, a statewide shelter in place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly altering operations of both state agencies and private businesses. … Importantly, the Division of Water Rights continues to require all surface water users to submit annual reports to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline for reporting 2019 water use.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Hoopa Tribe strikes at Interior’s coveted Westlands Water District corporate deal

The Hoopa Valley Tribe applauded Fresno County Superior Court’s refusal to validate a proposed contract between Westlands Water District and the Bureau of Reclamation. … The contract would have allocated up to 1,150,000 acre-feet of water annually to Westlands, most of which would be imported from the Trinity River, which has sustained the Hupa people since time immemorial.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Family’s 18-year fight with county over water rights tossed

Sealing a baffling fight over a ditch that involved dead cows, helicopters and a criminal trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that a California county didn’t trample a rural cattle rancher’s rights in its curious attempt to sabotage his water rights permit.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Local water district pulls out of mediation talks with city of Ventura

An Ojai Valley water district has pulled out of mediation talks with the city of Ventura and others after months of negotiation over water rights.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Will the rush to develop our newest water source destroy more streams?

Now, Big Ag and the water agencies that do its water will want to also divert streamflow during the winter wet season. For folks who believe that any water “diverted” to the ocean is wasted water, winter storm and snow-melt high flows have become the target.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Discussion of tribes’ water claims sparks tensions in Arizona

Many of Arizona’s Native tribes have long-standing claims to water rights that haven’t yet been settled, and a discussion of efforts to negotiate possible agreements took center stage at a meeting of Gov. Doug Ducey’s water council. The meeting grew tense after Arizona’s top water official gave a presentation on the status of tribes’ unresolved water claims, and then didn’t allow leaders of four tribes to speak.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says

Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt is speaking out about widespread problems of excessive groundwater pumping in rural areas of Arizona, saying the state Legislature should give counties and communities the power to protect their rapidly declining aquifers. Babbitt appealed for action during a visit this week to the Willcox area, where heavy pumping for farms has led to falling water tables and left a growing number of families with dry wells.

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court

The case, titled Baley v. United States, was filed 19 years ago when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation re-allocated Klamath River irrigation water to threatened and endangered species. A favorable outcome would mean upwards of $30 million collectively in compensation for irrigators named in the case.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Tuolumne Utility District announces negotiations with PG&E to acquire water system, pre-1914 water rights

Tuolumne Utilities District announced on Tuesday that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to acquire the Phoenix Hydroelectric Project, which would include pre-1914 water rights on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River…

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

District Court judge reaffirms decision to deny water for Las Vegas pipeline

A District Court judge has once again scuttled the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to obtain and pump rural groundwater about 300 miles from eastern Nevada, prompting one Clark County commissioner to call on the water authority “to look in a different direction.”

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments about the state’s role in protecting water for the ‘public trust’

The Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case weighing how state regulators should consider “public trust” values — the environment or recreation — when the sustainability of lakes or rivers could be harmed by how the state has allocated water rights.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Congress calls on Nestle to answer for its water-bottling practices in California and beyond

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are demanding international food giant Nestlé answer for its water-bottling practices, including in California where it pumps from the San Bernardino National Forest for its Arrowhead brand.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Newsom must do more than sue Trump to protect San Francisco Bay

The Governor is urging everyone to come together around his “new” concept. But his framework does not even attempt to meet state legal standards, nor will it result in the recovery of endangered fish species, important fisheries, or the food web that sustains them.

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Aquafornia news Deseret News

Utah House reaffirms intent to develop Colorado River water

Utah’s booming population growth and rapid economic development means the need for more water, a higher level of conservation and wise development of water supplies, which are not infinite. With that in the backdrop, the Utah House of Representatives on Tuesday passed HCR22, which makes clear to neighboring states and policymakers that Utah will someday develop its unused portion of the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments about the state’s role in protecting water for the ‘public trust’

The Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case weighing how state regulators should consider “public trust” values — the environment or recreation — when the sustainability of lakes or rivers could be harmed by how the state has allocated water rights.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Price of water going up as the snowpack shrinks

Another block of water has been offered for sale in Kern County at $950 per acre foot. With a dry January and extremely dry February, California’s water outlook has worsened. And that has bumped the price of water for those who have it to sell.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Court grants six-month extension in Ventura River lawsuit

A judge on Thursday granted a six-month extension for roughly 14,000 Ojai Valley and Ventura property owners facing a potential water adjudication. In January, the city of Ventura sent thousands of legal notices and summonses to people with property near the Ventura River or one of the area’s groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Court grants six-month extension in Ventura River lawsuit

A judge on Thursday granted a six-month extension for roughly 14,000 Ojai Valley and Ventura property owners facing a potential water adjudication. In January, the city of Ventura sent thousands of legal notices and summonses to people with property near the Ventura River or one of the area’s groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Water is life. It’s also a battle. So what does the future hold for California?

Scientists say climate change will bring more unpredictable weather, warmer winters and less snowpack in the mountains. These challenges and some ideas for remedies are outlined in a new plan, called the California Water Resilience Portfolio, released by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January to a mix of praise and disappointment. Below, an explanation of the state’s water development — as well as the challenges, today and tomorrow, of providing water for California’s people, places and things.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: California governor’s water negotiations leave no one behind, senator says

Recently, Governor Newsom announced his framework and support for Voluntary Settlement Agreements (VSAs) — a monumental effort that could bring to an end the conflict and litigation over water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. With great hope and guarded optimism, I applaud the governor’s efforts…

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Huffman vows at town hall to protect North Coast water rights

Protecting the North Coast’s waters and the communities that depend on them is a top priority, Congressman Jared Huffman told a town hall at the Eureka High School auditorium Friday night. Making sure fishermen get timely compensation when they’re barred from fishing and ensuring there is enough water in the area to protect fisheries are two key issues, the San Rafael Democrat said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Trump wading into California’s water policy with phony answer

President Trump believes he “got it done” in fixing California’s troubled and contentious water system. What he actually produced is another wrecking-ball delay and a lawsuit to try to halt his lopsided solution.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

As Western coal plants close, what happens to their water?

Coal-fired power plants are closing, or being given firm deadlines for closure, across the country. In the Western states that make up the overallocated and drought-plagued Colorado River, these facilities use a significant amount of the region’s scarce water supplies. With closure dates looming, communities are starting the contentious debate about how this newly freed up water should be put to use.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Public comment opens for groundwater sustainability plans

Groundwater sustainability plans that have been submitted to the state are now online at the DWR SGMA Portal. Plans are open to public comment for 75 days after they were posted online. Below is a table of the submitted plans, the counties they cover and details about the public comment period for that plan.

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Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta voluntary agreement costs soar from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion

In the latest update, the cost of implementing the voluntary agreements has soared by over $4 billion to a whopping $5.3 billion. Governor Newsom failed to mention the enormous and growing costs in his oped praising the voluntary agreement framework.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District beats Abatti contempt of court complaint

The Imperial Irrigation District has been found not guilty of a contempt of court complaint brought against it by farmer Michael Abatti as part of his contentious fight over water rights in the Imperial Valley.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Hard to swallow Newsom’s “voluntary agreements” under the threat of doom

First things first: you’d be wise to forget everything you’ve read or heard recently about “voluntary agreements,” which according to the usual suspects, will bring a just and peaceful end the seemingly never-ending battle over California water. Not true. Not even close.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Has Newsom settled the water wars?

Last week, Newsom unveiled a compromise framework that would enhance flows through the Delta by up to 900,000 acre-feet a year and restore 60,000 acres of habitat for wildlife, particularly salmon, facing decline or even extinction due to the diversions.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Ventura vs Ojai Water War

While the Ventura River may be beautiful, a legal case over its water is turning ugly. Thousands of people like Jessica Colborn, born and raised in Upper Ojai, are being served legal papers. This is because of their wells that use water from the river.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieve

The Ventura City Council announced Monday that it may request a six-month extension from the court for the thousands who were sent legal notices or served with a court summons in the case. … The litigation dates back to 2014 when Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city of Ventura was taking too much water from the Ventura River, hurting habitat for steelhead trout and other wildlife.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Ecologists see little difference between unimpaired and (truly) functional approaches to flow

From an ecologist’s perspective, river habitat and species population sizes and life histories were shaped by unimpaired flow patterns (including volume and natural variability) across seasons and years. Science from across the world, other regions in the US, and right here in California suggests that we can take some of that flow for other uses, but must preserve adequate volume and natural patterns of variation if we want native species to survive.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City of Ventura faces calls to drop legal action, water adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Opinion: Water plan should focus on the future, not the past

Time and time again seemingly well-intentioned initiatives and repeated attempts to develop a comprehensive water management solution have failed, despite cautionary tales. However, 2019 witnessed the horizon of a new initiative called the Voluntary Agreements that could do what few, if any, past plans, efforts, or reports could do – unite water management and develop collaboration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The final demise of unimpaired flows

The concept of unimpaired flows has endured (much longer than reasonable in my opinion). While it was argued that unimpaired flows would allow resource assessments to be founded on the “natural” hydrology of the stream network, this had fundamental drawbacks.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

LAFCo approves annexing Middletown Rancheria land into Callayomi County Water District

The Lake Local Area Formation Commission has approved a proposal to annex Middletown Rancheria land into the Callayomi County Water District in order to ensure a safe, reliable source of water for the tribe’s homes and casino.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino sells 1.14 billion gallons of water to Fontana Water Company

The Chino City Council on Tuesday night approved selling 3,500-acre-feet of surplus groundwater to the Fontana Water Company for more than $2 million. … As of June 2019, the city of Chino’s stored groundwater reserves totaled approximately 120,000-acre-feet, which is equivalent to 31.1 billion gallons of water. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bill would block transfers of Colorado River water to Arizona cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Watershed adjudication is the nuclear option

Watershed adjudications take a long time and their outcomes are impossible to predict. Thus the interest expressed by some major water purveyors (like the City of Ventura, Casitas Municipal Water District, Ventura River Water District and Meiners Oaks Water District) in pursuing a court-sanctioned settlement agreement. Negotiations on a settlement have begun and could avert the need for a lengthy basin-wide adjudication.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

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Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Weed and water woes in the legendary Emerald Triangle

In the early days, these pot farms were small and scattered. But in recent years the industry has intensified. A wave of newcomers planted larger farms, using greenhouses and artificial lights to extend the growing season and yield up to three marijuana crops in a single year. The cannabis boom has polluted waters with fertilizers, fuels and pesticides, triggered erosion that buries the rocky habitats where salmon and trout spawn and grow, and drained streams of water in the dry season.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bill would ban river water transfers to central Arizona

Under a new bill in the Arizona state Legislature, some water tied to land that borders the Colorado River could not be transferred into central Arizona. It comes after recent proposals to do just that.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona bills would strengthen rural groundwater rules

State legislators plan to tackle widespread problems of groundwater overpumping in rural Arizona this session, proposing bills that would make it easier to limit well-drilling in farming areas where residents have asked for help from the state to safeguard their dwindling water supplies.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Over the next few weeks, all owners of any real property that overlies the watershed’s four groundwater basins, as well as users who take or could take water from the Ventura River, will receive a notification or summons about the court proceedings as part of an ongoing legal process and as required by the court.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority

California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district board to take next step on public water buyout effort

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for a potential public acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24 million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Placerville developer pays for illegal diversions

A Placerville development company that illegally discharged sediment and stormwater from its construction site has agreed to pay $171,000 in a settlement with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board,

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