Topic: Water Rights


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 The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento-area water agencies call state drought program illegal

Representatives of the Placer County Water Agency, San Juan Water District, city of Roseville and Sacramento County Water Agency, in a joint letter, took exception to being lumped in with communities that don’t have strong water rights under California law and largely import their water from other regions.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s complicated water rights system (with audio)

You might have water rights in California, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll have water.  It seems the perhaps government has promised more than it can deliver – a headline that has been widely circulated this week.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Brown says water rights changes coming (with audio)

When settlers first came to California they were allowed to claim rights to the water they used to irrigate their land.

Aquafornia news NPR

Redistribute California’s water? Not without a fight (with audio)

There’s a lot at stake, including your very own nuts, fruit and vegetables, because most of the water that’s up for grabs in California goes to farmers. This year, some farmers will get water, and others will not, simply based on when their land was first irrigated. Consider, for instance, the case of Cannon Michael.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: In California, rights to water exceed the supply

It’s arguable whether California has enough water to meet its actual needs. But it clearly does not have enough to match people’s expectations.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Feather River farmers see 50% water reductions

Even Northern California farmers with some of the best water rights in the state will see their water allocations decreased by 50 percent this year. Districts along the Feather River got the news Wednesday from the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Coachella Valley: At war over water

Deep beneath the Coachella Valley runs the lifeblood of a desert oasis – the basin that supplies drinking water to 400,000 people, sustains lush golf courses and irrigates crops sold around the world.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Tribe fights Coachella Valley water agencies for aquifer rights

In drought-ravaged California, the vast freshwater aquifer beneath the Coachella Valley is a rare bright spot. … But there is growing concern by some that local water agencies are drawing too much out of the aquifer, which supplies water for more than 260,000 people.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pumping halted in excess groundwater case

A San Bernardino County judge finalized a ruling Friday to stop a water district that a lawsuit says is pumping more than its share out of the Rialto-Colton Basin.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Lake Mendocino shrinking again

Unless significant rain falls this spring, state regulators are likely to repeat last year’s unprecedented curtailment of hundreds of water rights held by farmers and others along the Russian River between Lake Mendocino and Healdsburg.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Agua Caliente tribe’s water lawsuit moving to trial

A lawsuit between the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and two local water agencies appears to be heading to trial following a federal judge’s ruling Friday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water agencies, Agua Caliente tribe spar in federal court

Lawyers for two local water districts and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians wrangled in a federal courtroom Monday, debating whether the tribe has a right to groundwater.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Property rights debate bogs down Modesto Irrigation District

Unusually warm temperatures the past few days have made the four-year drought worse for crops, so Modesto Irrigation District leaders said Tuesday they’re inclined to start farmers’ water season April 12 instead of two weeks later.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Central Valley, Delta water rights under scrutiny

Hundreds of property owners across California’s Central Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are scrambling to prove they have a right to divert water from the region’s streams, the result of a state order that comes due in just four days.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Water rights’ cost draws scrutiny

A provision in California’s landmark 2014 Water Bond Act, Proposition 1, could lead California into overspending on water — and that has sparked concern  from the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Los Angeles agency hits the top in arrogance

The Department of Motor Vehicles may be the state agency that Californians love to hate – undeservedly, for the most part. However, for sheer cussedness and arrogance, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is in a class by itself.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water rights during drought (with audio)

California’s State Water Resources Control Board met Wednesday to listen to testimony from Central Valley farmers and farm workers who are asking for more water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Residents, farmers describe drought impacts at marathon State Water Board hearing (with audio)

The California Water Resources Control Board heard emotional testimony for at least 12 hours yesterday from people worried about how the state should manage its dwindling supply of water during the drought.

Aquafornia news Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard (KMTG)

Blog: State Water Board sets March 6 deadline to document water rights in Sacramento and San Joaquin River watershed and Delta

Landowners, water districts, cities and other water suppliers claiming pre-1914 water rights or riparian water rights in the Sacramento San Joaquin River Watershed and Delta have until March 6, 2015, to submit documentation substantiating their rights to the State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”).

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

State undertakes more scrutiny on water users

Farmers and other water users across the Central Valley soon will be required to share more details about their water rights and how much they are diverting, as state officials sort through allegations of illegal water use in this time of scarcity.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: This just in … State Water Board orders more information from diverters claiming senior Delta water rights

Persons claiming senior water rights in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed will be required to provide the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) detailed information on the water rights they claim and diversions associated with those rights under a new order issued by the State Water Board.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP

Legal Commentary: State Board issues notice of potential curtailment of surface water rights diversions

On Jan. 23, the State Water Resource Control Board issued a Notice of Surface Water Shortage and Potential for Curtailment of Water Right Diversions for the coming year. … While the new Notice does not specify when such curtailment notices will be issued to the affected water rights holders, it is expected that the State Board will follow similar procedures as it did in curtailing water diversions in 2014.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

State Board warns of water curtailments if dry conditions persist

The State Water Resources Control Board advised water rights holders today [Jan. 23] that water diversions may be curtailed in critically dry watersheds again this year if conditions do not improve over the coming months.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Century later, the ‘Chinatown’ water feud ebbs

For 24 years, traveling across the stark and dusty moonscape of what once was a glimmering 110-square-mile lake framed by snow-covered mountains, Ted Schade was a general in the Owens Valley water wars with Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County board removes General Plan policy addressing water rights for unpermitted properties

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors continued its discussion of the Water Resources section of the General Plan Update at its Monday meeting, beginning by removing a policy pertaining to water rights on properties with unpermitted structures.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: It’s good to be a water lawyer, especially now

The groundwater legislation passed last year says repeatedly that nothing in the law would change existing groundwater rights. I wondered how that would work since the whole point of the legislation is to reduce our current over pumping of groundwater.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Interior opinion upholds Humboldt’s right to promised Trinity water

Elected and tribal officials applauded a U.S. Department of the Interior legal opinion released on Friday, which calls for Humboldt County and downstream water users to receive the annual 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity Reservoir water promised to the area under a law and a contract approved nearly 60 years ago.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Groundwater adjudication hearing, part 3

Groundwater adjudications, notoriously expensive and time consuming, emerged as an issue during the development and ultimate passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, and the Brown Administration has made it a priority to consider possible reforms.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County supervisors hear potential plans for Mad River water exports

The last Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting of 2014 on Tuesday focused on many aspects of the Mad River, with a local water district presenting outlines to potentially transport water out of the county and increase flows for native species, and the board approving an update to its environmental review of current mining operations along the waterway.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern Calif.

Blog: How California’s water rights make it tough to manage drought (with audio)

After three years of historically dry and hot weather, the images of California’s drought have become familiar: empty fields, brown lawns, dry stream beds. But for every one of those scenes, there are other parts of the state where water has been flowing freely and the effects of drought are hard to see.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Peace amid the water wars: San Joaquin County, East Bay MUD reach deal

Here’s something to be thankful for today: A landmark peace treaty in one of this region’s most enduring water wars. San Joaquin County and the East Bay Municipal Utility District are the primary players behind a deal announced late Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Snow-making a pipe dream for resort owner?

He [Lance Vetesy] owns Leland High Sierra Snow Play east of Pinecrest. … Snow-making ability would all but guarantee him a full season of business every year. … But in California water law, nothing is simple.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

State Senate hearing focuses on streamlining groundwater rights disputes

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water today held an informational hearing that focused on developing ways to resolve groundwater rights disputes more quickly. … Sen. Fran Pavley, (D-Aurora Hills), chair of the Senate committee, opened the hearing by saying that following the passage this year of the Groundwater Sustainability Management Act, officials now want to look at the issue of groundwater adjudications.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Limits end on most California stream diversions

Thousands of water users across California can again draw water directly from streams after state officials Wednesday lifted restrictions on one of the last major blocks of water rights, imposed in June due to the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: 100 years later, the dust settles in the Owens Valley

One hundred and one years after Los Angeles opened the aqueduct to draw water from the Owens Valley, the city has reached a settlement over how it will control dust blowing off the dry Owens Lake bed.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New dust-busting method ends Los Angeles’ longtime feud with Owens Valley

Under an agreement between the city [of Los Angeles] and Owens Valley air quality regulators, Los Angeles will use a new, organic method of suppressing airborne dust from the dry bed of Owens Lake, which L.A. drained to slake its thirst in the last century.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Who owns California’s water?

Is there enough water? Well, not if everyone with rights to the water wants it. One California county has more than 1,400 people with water rights.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Farmers sue state over drought water decisions

East San Joaquin Valley growers are suing state water authorities over drought decisions, claiming east-side communities and farms got no federal water after the state illegally denied deliveries to a separate group of landowners with senior water rights.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento Valley water transfer idea leaves locals fuming

There’s a plan for water transfers could move up to 511,000 acre-feet of water each year for the next 10 years from the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. … The Bureau [of Reclamation] is in the middle of writing the “Long-Term Water Transfers Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tribe, agencies lay out arguments in water lawsuit

Two water districts, the federal government, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are laying out their arguments in a lawsuit over water, focusing on the question of whether the tribe has rights to groundwater.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid California’s drought, a bruising battle for cheap water

The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown takes the long view on water

Battles over water rights, wet years flowing into dry ones, Jerry Brown gubernatorial tenures – in California, some storylines recur.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

The West is bone dry. Here’s how to help

Drought is rampant these days in many parts of the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift: You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your job is to turn around and use that resource in the most valuable way possible.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog by UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Blog: Modernizing drought water allocations

The State Water Resources Control Board recently solicited public comments on how to improve its drought curtailment of water rights. Here is a summary of insights and recommendations from a group of seven California water experts.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Plans for five new Glenn-Colusa wells face a tough crowd

Five new wells are on the drawing board for Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, the biggest surface water district in the Sacramento Valley. … Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District is considering the five wells as a backup to surface water during dry and critically dry years, presenters explained.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water for Coachella Valley farms untouched by drought

One of the most extreme droughts in California’s history has been hitting agriculture hard, forcing cutbacks in water deliveries in parts of the Central Valley and leaving more than 400,000 acres of farmland fallow and dry.

Western Water Excerpt Jennifer Bowles

Does California Need a Water Court?
July/August 2014

Before attorneys wrangled in courtrooms over questions of water rights, people typically took matters into their own hands. If your neighbor up river was damming water that affected your supply, it wasn’t unheard of that you would simply sneak up in the middle of the night and blow up the dam.


The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (20 min. DVD)

20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.


The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (60 min. DVD)

For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.


Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.


Shaping of the West: 100 Years of Reclamation

30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern day issues.


Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maps & Posters

Truckee River Basin Map
Published 2005

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues. 


Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2020

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.


Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing
Updated 2005

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 2005 version offers expanded information on groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River transfers 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.


Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.


Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water
Published 2006

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada. It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and today’s water supply challenges.


Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater
Updated 2017

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background and perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the history of its use in California.


Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

Cover page for the Layperson's Guide to the Colorado River .

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.


Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

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.


Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).


Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Aquapedia background Layperson's Guide to Water Rights Law

Water Rights in California

California’s growth has closely paralleled an evolving and complex system of water rights.

After California became a state in 1850, it followed the practice of Eastern states and adopted riparian rights – water rights laws based on ownership of land bordering a waterway.  The riparian property owner—one who lives next to the river— possesses the right to use that water, a right that cannot be transferred apart from the land.

Aquapedia background Layperson's Guide to Water Marketing

Water Marketing

Water Marketing

Water marketing is the transfer or sale of water or water rights from one user to another, typically from an agricultural to an urban water agency, often without investing in new infrastructure

Most exchanges involve a transfer of the resource itself, not a transfer of the right to use the water.

Reallocating the available water on a supply-and-demand basis is viewed by proponents as the best financial, political and environmental means of accommodating an increase in population.

Aquapedia background

Riparian Rights

Surface water is water found in rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds. There are a limited number of instances in which water in a defined underground channel is classified as surface water. There are several types of water rights that apply to surface water.

A landowner whose property borders a river has a right to use water from that river on his land. This is called riparian rights.

Aquapedia background

Pueblo Water Rights

In addition to riparian and appropriative water rights, there are two other types of surface water rights in California: pueblo rights and federal reserved rights.

Aquapedia background

Prescriptive Rights

Prescriptive Rights are water use rights gained illicitly that evolve into a title. Typically this occurs with rights to chronically overdrafted groundwater basins gained through trespass or unauthorized use.

In California, the California Supreme Court developed the doctrine of prescriptive rights in 1949.

Aquapedia background

Henry J. Vaux Jr.

Henry J. Vaux Jr. is the professor of resource economics, emeritus, of the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Riverside.

Aquapedia background

Water Rights Terms

Adjudicate -To determine rights by a lawsuit in court.

Appropriative Right – A right based on physical control of water and since 1914 in relation to surface water, a state-issued permit or license for its beneficial use. Appropriative water rights in California are divided into pre-1914 and post-1914 rights, depending on whether they were initiated after the December 19, 1914 effective date of the Water Commission Act of 1913. Post-1914 rights can only be initiated by filing an application and obtaining a permit from the state. The program is now administered by the State Water Resources Control Board. 

Aquapedia background

Groundwater Banking

An aerial view of a groundwater bank

Groundwater banking is a process of diverting floodwaters or other surface water into an aquifer where it can be stored until it is needed later. In a twist of fate, the space made available by emptying some aquifers opened the door for the banking activities used so extensively today.

Aquapedia background

Groundwater Adjudication

When multiple parties withdraw water from the same aquifer, groundwater pumpers can ask the court to adjudicate, or hear arguments for and against, to better define the rights that various entities have to use groundwater resources. This is known as  groundwater adjudication. [See also California water rights and Groundwater Law.]

Aquapedia background

Federal Reserved Rights

Federal reserved rights were created when the United States reserved land from the public domain for uses such as Indian reservations, military bases and national parks, forests and monuments.  [See also Pueblo Rights].

Aquapedia background

Appropriative Rights

Appropriative Rights

California law allows surface water to be diverted at one point and used (appropriated) beneficially at a separate point.

This is in contrast to a riparian right, which is based on ownership of the property adjacent to the water.

Western Water Magazine

Overdrawn at the Bank: Managing California’s Groundwater
January/February 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at California groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by local, regional and state management. For more background information on groundwater please refer to the Founda­tion’s Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.

Western Water Magazine

Meeting the Co-equal Goals? The Bay Delta Conservation Plan
May/June 2013

This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Magazine

Saving it For Later: Groundwater Banking
July/August 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines groundwater banking, a water management strategy with appreciable benefits but not without challenges and controversy.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Whose Water Is It? Area of Origin Water Rights
March/April 2010

“Let me state, clearly and finally, the Interior Department is fully and completely committed to the policy that no water which is needed in the Sacramento Valley will be sent out of it. There is no intent on the part of the Bureau of Reclamation ever to divert from the Sacramento Valley a single acre-foot of water which might be used in the valley now or later.” – J.A. Krug, Secretary of the Interior, Oct. 12, 1948, speech at Oroville, CA

Western Water Magazine

Whose Water Is It? Area of Origin Water Rights
March/April 2010

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.

Western Water Magazine

Making a Future for Fish: Preserving and Restoring Native Salmon and Trout
January/February 2009

This printed copy of Western Water examines the native salmon and trout dilemma – the extent of the crisis, its potential impact on water deliveries and the lengths to which combined efforts can help restore threatened and endangered species.

Western Water Magazine

Finding a Vision for the Delta
March/April 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the problems tied to the Delta.

Western Water Magazine

Remnants of the Past: Management Challenges of Terminal Lakes
January/February 2005

This issue of Western Water examines the challenges facing state, federal and tribal officials and other stakeholders as they work to manage terminal lakes. It includes background information on the formation of these lakes, and overviews of the water quality, habitat and political issues surrounding these distinctive bodies of water. Much of the information in this article originated at the September 2004 StateManagement Issues at Terminal Water Bodies/Closed Basins conference.

Western Water Excerpt Sue McClurgRita Schmidt Sudman

The Mojave River Basin Decision
Sept/Oct 2000

Priority: the right to precedence over others in obtaining, buying, or doing something – Webster’s New World College Dictionary 

First in time, first in right has long served as one guiding principle of water law in California. Simply put, this priority system generally holds that the first person to claim water and use it has a right superior to subsequent claims. In times of shortage, it is the most junior of water rights holders who must cut back use first.

Western Water Magazine

Managing the Colorado River
November/December 1999

Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999 in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional water development of the past has given way to a more collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment while stretching available water supplies.