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Mealey's Water Rights

  • March 12, 2019

    Montana Supreme Court Denies Motion For Out-Of-Time Water Rights Appeal

    HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on Feb. 19 denied a motion by a water rights claimant to file an out-of-time appeal of a state water court denial of his claims as unsupported by evidence (Tom Pratt, et al. v. Russell E. Blalack, No. DA 19-0086, Mont. Sup., 2019 Mont. LEXIS 86).

  • March 12, 2019

    California Appeals Court: Water Rights Delicensing Challenge Filed Too Late

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on Feb. 22 reversed a trial court ruling in an abandoned water rights case, finding that a water district’s petition for a peremptory writ of mandate was untimely (Millview County Water District v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al., No. A146605, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 152).

  • March 12, 2019

    Washington Appeals Court: Industrial Park Water System Isn’t ‘Residential’

    SPOKANE, Wash. — A Washington state appeals panel on Feb. 26 affirmed a decision by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board that an industrial park’s water system does not qualify as a municipal water supplier (Crown West Realty, LLC v. Pollution Control Hearings Board, et al., No. 35610-8-III, Wash. App., Div. 3, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 433).

  • March 11, 2019

    2 Environmental Groups Get $3.21M In Fees, Costs For Winning Dam Operation Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on March 5 awarded two environmental groups $2.92 million in attorney fees and $297,328 in costs as the prevailing parties in an Endangered Species Act (ESA) case against the operator of dam on the Santa Clara River that allegedly resulted in the loss of an endangered fish species (Wishtoyo Foundation, et al. v. United Water Conservation District, No. 16-3869, C.D. Calif., S. Div.).

  • March 7, 2019

    California Appeals Court Remands Water Rate Case For More Complete Records

    LOS ANGELES — A California water rate lawsuit was remanded to a trial court on March 4 after a state appeals panel said the administrative records are insufficient to determine whether the groundwater rates charged by a water district to a city for three years “bore a reasonable relationship to the burdens on or the benefits of its conservation activities” (City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District, et al., No. B251810, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 6, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1523).

  • March 5, 2019

    Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal Of Water Augmentation Plan Challenge

    DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Feb. 19 affirmed dismissal of an objection by a water and sanitation district to a plan to use additional sources of replacement water under another water district’s decreed augmentation plan (Well Augmentation Subdistrict of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, et al. v. Centennial Water & Sanitation District, et al., Colo. Sup., 2019 Colo. LEXIS 146).

  • February 28, 2019

    Judge: Agencies’ Analysis Of Central Valley Water Contracts Was Proper

    FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 26 ruled that federal agencies performed the proper analysis for the impact water contracts would have on the Central Valley Project, a federal water management project in California, and he denied environmental organizations’ claim that a 2015 document issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was invalid (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. David Bernhardt, No. 05-1207, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30649).

  • February 13, 2019

    Multiplaintiff, Interstate Or Notable Water Rights Cases

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

  • February 13, 2019

    New California Governor Supports 1-Tunnel Design For WaterFix Project

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In his first State of the State address, California Gov. Gavin Newsome, D., on Feb. 12 said he supports a single tunnel for the state’s WaterFix project, a move that could substantially lower the project’s $15 billion price.

  • February 13, 2019

    Lake Users Association Sues California County For Inverse Condemnation

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — An association of people who use a large California lake on Jan. 15 sued Monterey County and related entities in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, alleging inverse condemnation for drawing more water from the lake than permitted by the state when the lake was created (Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee v. Monterey County Water Resources Agency, et al., No. 19CVP-0010, Calif. Super., San Luis Obispo Co.).

  • February 13, 2019

    California Fisherman, Tribe Sue Water Department, United States Over Water Project

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four fishermen’s groups and a Native American tribe on Jan. 16 sued the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, alleging that recent agreements between the two defendants violate the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other water project enabling agreements (North Coast Rivers Alliance, et al. v. Department of Water Resources, et al., No. 34-2019-80003057, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).

  • February 13, 2019

    Nevada Federal Judge Won’t Reconsider Restitution Order Against Water District

    RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on Feb. 4 denied a motion to reconsider an order requiring a water district to replace water it wrongfully diverted from a river, saying that the motion is untimely and that the court’s action was for restitution under a water settlement agreement and not designed to punish the water district (United States v. Board of Directors of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, et al., No. 95-757, D. Nev.).

  • February 13, 2019

    California County, State Urge State High Court To Rule On Well Permitting Standard

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California county and the state environmental department on Jan. 14 told the state Supreme Court that it should find that the permitting of water wells is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq. (Protecting Our Water & Environmental Resources, et al. v. Stanislaus County, et al., No. S251709, Calif. Sup.).

  • February 13, 2019

    Utah High Court Says It Lacks Jurisdiction Over Water Rights Adjudication Appeal

    SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on Jan. 11 dismissed an appeal from a water rights adjudication because the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the state engineer’s determination as it applies to other water rights holders (EnerVest, Ltd. v. Utah State Engineer, et al., No. 20160394, Utah Sup., 2019 Utah LEXIS 2).

  • February 12, 2019

    Judge: Most Freedom Of Information Exceptions Apply To Nestle Forest Water Permit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 4 ruled that the U.S. Forest Service was justified in invoking some Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exceptions but not others in an environmental group’s challenge of Nestle Waters North America Inc.’s license to take water from the San Bernardino National Forest (Story of Stuff Project v. United States Forest Service, No. 18-170, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17158).

  • February 12, 2019

    Arizona Appeals Court Reverses Summary Judgment In Water Service Case

    PHOENIX — An Arizona appeals panel on Feb. 5 vacated summary judgment in a water service dispute between the city of Prescott and two out-of-town property owners because a jury could find that the city had left the matter open (Hidden Heights LLC, et al. v. Prescott, Arizona, No. 1 CA-CV 18-0160, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2019 Ariz. App. LEXIS 110).

  • February 4, 2019

    California Appeals Court Affirms Attorney Fee Award In Environmental Challenge

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals court on Jan. 31 affirmed an attorney fees award in a water project case, agreeing with a trial court that the plaintiffs’ action conferred a significant benefit on the general public and that the plaintiffs were allowed to privately enforce state environmental law (Oakdale Groundwater Alliance, et al. v. Oakdale Irrigation District, No. F077281, Calif. App., 5th Dist., 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 788).

  • February 4, 2019

    Intervenors Drop Appeal Of Injunction Against Suspension Of Clean Water Rule

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Eighteen agricultural and business organizations on Feb. 1 notified the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that they have voluntarily dismissed their appeal of a federal district court order that vacated and enjoined the Trump administration’s so-called “Suspension Rule” for the Clean Water Rule:  Definition of "Waters of the United States," 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, June 29, 2015 (South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 18-1964, 4th Cir.).

  • January 30, 2019

    California Appeals Court Affirms Denial Of Challenge To Water Rate Increase

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court on Jan. 28 affirmed dismissal of an agricultural association’s lawsuit that sought to overturn water rate increases enacted by a water district during the state’s four-year drought (Goleta Ag Preservation v. Goleta Water District, No. B277227, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 6, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 648).

  • January 30, 2019

    Former High Court Special Master In Florida/Georgia Case Dies

    PORTLAND, Maine — Ralph I. Lancaster, the Maine lawyer who up until August was the special master in Florida’s U.S. Supreme Court water rights lawsuit against Georgia, died Jan. 22, according to Lancaster’s law firm.