PHOENIX — An Arizona appeals panel on April 13 said that a former state territorial court lacks continuing jurisdiction over Verde River water appropriators because jurisdiction was superseded by a subsequent decree that covers a large river basin (United States of America v. Verde Ditch Company, et al., No. 1 CA-CV 15-0690, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2017 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 402).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced April 11 that water contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will receive 100 percent of their contract amounts from the Central Valley Project thanks to “exceptional” snowfall in March.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. on April 7 terminated the state’s three-year drought emergency for all counties except the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne.
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
DENVER — A Colorado state appeals panel said April 6 that it lacked jurisdiction to hear an appeal of a default judgment in a property/water rights dispute between two neighbors (Stephen L. Allison, et al. v. Frank Engle, et al., No. 15CA1886, Colo. App., Div. 2, 2017 Colo. App. LEXIS 392).
MOBILE, Ala. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on March 30 announced that it has signed a record of decision for the environmental impact statement allowing the approval of an updated Master Water Control Manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Two environmental groups on April 6 sued the city of San Bernardino in California state court, alleging that a water reclamation project will be detrimental to four “imperiled” species in and around the Santa Ana River (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, et al., No. CIVD81806284, Calif. Super., San Bernardino Co.).
VENTURA, Calif. — Casitas Municipal Water District in Ventura, Calif., announced April 7 that it has reached an agreement with Golden State Water Co. to acquire the latter’s Ojai water system for $34.4 million, bringing to an end the district’s eminent domain lawsuit against Golden State Water.
SAN FRANCISCO — Three California water districts and two water users on April 10 filed a notice that they will appeal summary judgment and a preliminary injunction granted Feb. 8 to two Native American tribes that require the federal government to release enough water from the Klamath Project to reduce the risk of infection downstream to fish in the Klamath River (Hoopa Valley Tribe, et al. v. National Marine Fisheries Services, et al., No. 16-4294, and Yurok Tribe v. Bureau of Reclamation, No. 16-6863, N.D. Calif.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 granted a motion by two California water agencies to stay a mandate in a case involving tribal groundwater rights pending the districts’ petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 15-55896, 9th Cir.).
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on March 13 rebuffed a property owner’s third lawsuit attempting to assert a right to municipal water service to undeveloped land near Alta, Utah (Mark C. Haik v. Salt Lake City Corporation, No. 20160019, Utah Sup., 2017 Utah LEXIS 50).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Two California water agencies on April 6 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to stay its mandate in a case involving tribal groundwater rights because they plan to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 15-55896, 9th Cir.).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on April 6 denied a motion by a landowner to lift a nine-year-old stay of a Native American water rights lawsuit, saying that to do so could undo years of settlement negotiations about to come to fruition for about 3,000 parties (United States of America, et al. v. Fallbrook Public Utility District, et al., No. 51-cv-1247, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53782).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 3 denied a motion by the United States to hold merits briefing on Clean Water Act jurisdiction in abeyance, according to a court docket entry (National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. Department of Defense, et al., No. 16-299, U.S. Sup.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge will have to decide how a dam-release lawsuit will proceed after the parties and intervenors filed conflicting recommendations to the court on March 31 (San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, et al. v. Sally Jewell, et al., No. 15-1290, E.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 20 ordered Florida and Georgia to file any exceptions to a special master’s recommendation that the high court deny Florida’s request for equitable apportionment of water from a basin it shares with Georgia (State of Florida v. State of Georgia, No. 142, Original, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 20 ordered Texas and New Mexico to file any special exceptions to a special master’s recommendation that New Mexico’s motion to dismiss an interstate water dispute be denied and that the case move on to discovery and possible trial (State of Texas v. State of New Mexico, et al., No. 141, Original, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California state court on March 8 gave final approval to an order that the city of Claremont pay the Golden State Water Co. $7.6 million in attorney fees, expert witness fees and litigation costs for the city’s failed eminent domain lawsuit (City of Claremont v. Golden State Water Company, et al., No. BC566125, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
SANTE FE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge presiding over the Zuni River Adjudication on March 29 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that a couple had no livestock water right to a well and that if they did, they abandoned it through nonuse (United States of America, et al. v. A&R Productions, et al., No. 01-72, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47989).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Two California water agencies on March 29 told a federal judge he should continue to stay the second phase of their groundwater case with a Native American tribe because the agencies intend to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review a recent adverse ruling by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 13-883, C.D. Calif., Eastern Div.).