PHOENIX — An Arizona state appeals panel on Oct. 17 affirmed a trial court ruling that the acquisition of land within a water co-op did not give the owner water rights or membership in the co-op (Timothy A. Henline, et al. v. Gladstone E. Gregg, No. 1 CA-DV 16-0524, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2017 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1527).
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Santa Clara Valley Water District on Oct. 17 voted to participate in the California WaterFix project, but with several conditions.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A South Dakota Native American tribe on Oct. 10 filed an opening brief in a federal appeals court arguing that it should reinstate the tribe’s claims that the United States took its reserved federal water rights (Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States, No. 17-2340, Fed. Cir.).
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin state judge on Oct. 11 vacated state approval of seven high-capacity wells and ordered one remanded after determining that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was not precluded from considering nonstatutory factors about how the well would affect groundwater and nearby waterways (Clean Wisconsin, Inc., et al. v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, No. 16-CV-2817, et al., Wis. Cir., Dane Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Edmund J. Brown Jr., D., on Oct. 15 vetoed a bill that would transfer water rights enforcement from State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to a new Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings (California Assembly Bill 313).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal claims court judge on Oct. 23 instructed parties in a federal takings case to stop work on the class certification process after she entered judgment for the United States (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, No. 01-591, Fed. Clms.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal claims court judge on Nov. 3 affirmed her findings from a 2012 trial involving the right of a New Mexico cattle association to access stockwater in the Lincoln National Forest (Sacramento Grazing Association, Inc., et al. v. The United States, No. 04-786 L, Fed. Clms., 2017 U.S. Claims LEXIS 1381).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Massachusetts Appeals Court on Nov. 2 affirmed a trial court decision awarding a water company $88.58 million for a town’s statutory purchase of the company (Town of Hingham v. Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, Inc., et al., No. 16-P-985, Mass App., 2017 Mass. App. LEXIS 146).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 6 granted a motion by the U.S. Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae in the interstate groundwater dispute between Florida and Georgia (Florida v. Georgia, No. 142 Original, U.S. Sup.).
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Washington state berry farmer has agreed to pay $80,000 for illegal water use and refusing to supply water records, the Washington Department of Ecology reported Oct. 25 (Gurjant [George] Sandhu v. Washington Department of Ecology, Nos. P13-005-006, P16-049, P13-119, Wash. Pollution Control Hrng. Bd.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A California Native American tribe and the United States on Oct. 13 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a Ninth Circuit ruling that the tribe has a federally reserved right to groundwater under its reservation (Coachella Valley Water District, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., No. 17-40, Desert Water Agency, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., No. 17-42, U.S. Sup.)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Massachusetts Appeals Court on Nov. 2 affirmed a trial court decision awarding a water company $88.58 million for a town’s statutory purchase of the company (Town of Hingham v. Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, Inc., et al., No. 16-P-985, Mass App., 2017 Mass. App. LEXIS 146),
CINCINNATI — The U.S. Supreme Court special master overseeing the Mississippi/Tennessee interstate water lawsuit on Nov. 1 issued new deadlines for the parties to agree on the scope of evidence and motions for summary judgment after the two states continued to disagree about those two issues (Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al., No. 143, Original, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A petition by two California water districts asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve whether a Native American tribe has reserved rights to groundwater under its reservation was distributed Nov. 1 for the high court’s Nov. 21 conference, according to a docket entry (Coachella Valley Water District, et al. v. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al., Nos. 17-40 and 17-42, U.S. Sup.).
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon governor on Oct. 27 asked the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to withdraw a water exchange application with the city of Cascade Locks, a move that creates an obstacle to the contentious sale of Cascade Locks’ water rights to water bottler Nestle Waters North America.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Arizona Supreme Court on Oct. 13 affirmed a trial court ruling that the state engineer has authority under law over percolating groundwater (John F. Bosta, et al. v. Jason King, et al., No. 68448, Nev. Sup., 2017 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 894).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Interior Department on Oct. 25 issued a statement saying that while it supports California’s water goals, “the Department under the current state proposal does not expect to participate in the construction or funding of the [California] Water Fix.”
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four California environmental groups on Sept. 22 started a legal action aimed at the California WaterFix by suing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for allegedly violating the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) (Bay.Org, et al. v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife, et al., No. 34-2017-80002695, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California irrigation district on Sept. 20 filed an amended petition for a writ of mandate in state court, seeking a declaration that land leases approved by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) are “projects” subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Calif. Pub. Res. C. § 21000 et seq. (Palo Verde Irrigation District v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, et al., No. RIC 1714672, Calif. Super., Riverside Co.).