Mealey's Water Rights

  • March 23, 2017

    Judge Dismisses Claims Asserted By Water Rights Holders For Lack Of Jurisdiction

    PENDLETON, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on March 20 granted an irrigation district's motion to dismiss claims that it illegally redistributed water to the detriment of the holders of the water rights, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction because the water rights holders failed to first pursue litigation in a state court pursuant to Oregon's inverse condemnation procedures (ELH LLC, et al. v. Westland Irrigation District, 16-1318, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39279).

  • March 20, 2017

    South Dakota High Court Affirms Defendant Class Certification In Water Use Suit

    PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Supreme Court on March 15 upheld the certification of a defendant class represented by the secretary of the State of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department and comprising individuals who have used or will use the water of two South Dakota lakes in a lawsuit filed by landowners whose property around the lakes was partially submerged in 1993 and who have claimed that the public has no right to access the water and ice over top of their property (Thad Duerre, et al. v. Kelly R. Hepler, et al., No. 27885, S.D. Sup., 2017 S.D. LEXIS 29).

  • March 17, 2017

    36 Respondents Don’t Want High Court To Delay Clean Water Rule Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny a motion by the United States to hold merits briefing on Clean Water Act jurisdiction in abeyance, 36 respondents argue in a March 16 brief, saying the question needs to be answered regardless of whether the Trump administration rescinds the Clean Water Rule that is at issue (National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. Department of Defense, et al., No. 16-299, U.S. Sup.).

  • March 16, 2017

    Court Wants Clean Water Rule Briefing By April 13; United States Seeks Abeyance

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 7 reset the merit brief deadline for a Clean Water Rule jurisdictional case to April 13, ignoring a motion filed a day before by the United States to hold briefing in abeyance in light of a presidential order to review/revise/rescind the rule (National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. Department of Defense, et al., No. 16-299, U.S. Sup.).

  • March 14, 2017

    Nebraska Supreme Court: River Compact Supersedes Water Appropriators’ Interests

    LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court on March 10 unanimously ruled that the Republican River Compact supersedes the property interests of water appropriators and that the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not have a duty to regulate groundwater and cannot make a claim of inverse condemnation (Gregg Hill of Furnas County, et al. v. State of Nebraska, et al., Nos. S-16-558 and S-16-560, Neb. Sup., 2017 Neb. LEXIS 37).

  • March 13, 2017

    Washington Supreme Court Won’t Review Water Diversion For Hydroelectric Project

    OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Supreme Court on March 8 denied review of a challenge by three environmental groups to the diversion of water from a dam for a hydroelectric plant along the Similkameen River (Center for Environmental Law and Policy, et al. v. State Department of Ecology, et al., No. 938440, Wash. Sup.).

  • March 8, 2017

    WildEarth Guardians Protest Proposed Water Transfer In Rio Grande

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — WildEarth Guardians on Feb. 27 filed a protest to a water transfer application by the City of Rio Rancho and Bosque Del Sol LLC, saying it would reduce flows in the Rio Grande and lead to increased water use in the Rio Grande valley (In the Matter of the Application of the City of Rio Rancho and Bosque del Sol, LLC, No. SD-08707, et al., N.M. Off. State Engr.).

  • March 8, 2017

    United States Tells 6th Circuit About Possible Rescind Of Clean Water Rule

    CINCINNATI — The U.S. Justice Department on March 6 notified the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of the government’s intent to revise or rescind the Clean Water Rule (In Re:  United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., Murray Energy Corporation, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-3751, et al., 6th Cir.).

  • March 8, 2017

    Texas Appeals Court Affirms Denial Of Water Permit By TCEQ

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Third District Texas Court of Appeals on March 3 ruled that a district court did not err in denying an application to extend and expand water rights previously granted to the applicant under a 10-year permit (Bradley B. Ware v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, No. 03-14-416, Tex. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1797).

  • March 8, 2017

    United States: Federal Claims Court Should Dismiss Crow Creek Sioux Lawsuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States on March 3 told the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that it should dismiss a Native American tribe’s lawsuit seeking compensation for water it claims it owns in the Missouri River, which it says has been unconstitutionally taken (Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States of America, No. 1:16-CV-0760-RHH, Fed. Clms.).

  • March 8, 2017

    Multiplaintiff, Interstate Or Notable Water Rights Cases

    New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.

  • March 8, 2017

    9th Circuit Agrees Tribe’s Reserved Water Rights Include Groundwater

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 7 affirmed a lower court’s partial summary judgment ruling that a Native American tribe’s reserved water rights include groundwater (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 15-55898, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4009).

  • March 7, 2017

    Nevada Rancher Must Pay $587,294 For Grazing After Water Rights Defense Fails

    LAS VEGAS — After the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that water rights don’t trump the need to obtain federal cattle-grazing permits, a Nevada federal judge on Feb. 27 ordered a cattle rancher to pay the federal government $587,294 for “willful and repeated willful” unauthorized grazing on public lands (United States of America v. Wayne N. Hage, et al., No. 07-1154, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26992).

  • March 7, 2017

    Federal Claims Judge Approves Class Notice In Klamath Water Takings Cases

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Federal Claims Court judge on Feb. 27 approved a class notice plan for farmers or farm lessees who say they had appurtenant rights to water from the Klamath Project in 2001 when the United States withheld water from the project in favor of fish downstream of dams (Lonney E. Baley, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 01-591L, John Anderson Farms, Inc., et al. v. United States, No. 07-194C, Fed. Clms.).

  • March 3, 2017

    U.S. Supreme Court To Consider 2 Interstate Water Dispute Reports On March 17

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court will consider special master reports in two interstate water disputes at its March 17 conference, according to March 1 docket entries for the cases (Florida v. Georgia, No.142, Org., and Texas v. New Mexico, et al., No. 141, Org., U.S. Sup.).

  • March 1, 2017

    Clean Water Rule To Be Rescinded Or Revised By Executive Order

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Feb. 28 issued an executive order for the Clean Water Rule to be reviewed and rescinded or revised, an action that may result in the U.S. Justice Department abandoning its defense of the law in federal courts and in new states’ lawsuit challenging the executive order itself.

  • February 28, 2017

    California Water District Mostly Prevails In Water Case, But Ranch Has Junior Right

    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In a tentative ruling, a California state court judge on Feb. 23 ruled that a ranch in Santa Barbara County “materially contributes” to recharging the Goleta Groundwater Water Basin to which the Goleta Water District has senior appropriator rights (Goleta Water District v. Slippery Rock Ranch LLC, No. 1487055, Calif. Super., Santa Barbara Co.).

  • February 28, 2017

    California Water District Mostly Prevails In Water Case, But Ranch Has Junior Right

    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In a tentative ruling, a California state court judge on Feb. 23 ruled that a ranch in Santa Barbara County “materially contributes” to recharging the Goleta Groundwater Water Basin to which the Goleta Water District has senior appropriator rights (Goleta Water District v. Slippery Rock Ranch LLC, No. 1487055, Calif. Super., Santa Barbara Co.).

  • February 24, 2017

    1 Claim Out, 1 Survives In Environmentalists’ Suit Over Federal Water Transfers

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 23 dismissed one claim involving the renewal of federal water contracts with the federal government but allowed to proceed the plaintiffs’ claim about whether the federal government has the discretion to require water diversion from a creek and to approve transfers to water contractors (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Gail A. Norton, et al., No. 05-1207, E.D. Calif.).

  • February 24, 2017

    National Wildlife Federation Asks Texas Appeals Court To Reconsider Water Ruling

    HOUSTON — The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) on Feb. 10 asked a Texas appeals court to rehear its case against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and a regional water district, arguing that the court’s Jan. 26 ruling deprives language in Texas Water Code Section 11.085 (l)(2) “of any independent meaning” (Upper Trinity Regional Water District, et al. v. National Wildlife Federation, No. 01-15-00374-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).