NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A U.S. Supreme Court special master on May 30 concluded a four-day hearing on whether Mississippi’s groundwater is an intrastate resource or an interstate resource (Mississippi v. Tennessee, No. 143, Original, U.S. Sup.).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on May 14 affirmed a Montana Water Court’s rejections of objections filed by two water users who claimed that a downstream property owner abandoned his water rights (In Re: Gene J. Klamert, et al., No. DA 18-0413, Mont. Sup., 2019 Mont. LEXIS 178).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on May 21 said a state water court judge erred when he ruled that two water rights holders had not met the state’s standard for showing that their claims implied stockwater rights (Claimants: John R. Sampson, et al., No. DA 18-0689, Mont. Sup., 2019 Mont. LEXIS 188).
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A California judge on June 6 issued peremptory writs of mandate ordering the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to set aside water curtailment orders issued during the state’s historic drought in May and June 2015 to seven water districts (California Water Curtailment Cases, JCCP No. 4838, No. 2015-1-CV-285182, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 3 asked the U.S. solicitor general for his view on whether the high court should review a river master’s water credit determination in Texas’ lawsuit against New Mexico (Texas v. New Mexico, No. 65, Orig., U.S. Sup.).
GALVESTON, Texas — A Texas federal judge on May 28 became the first to grant summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging the Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States," 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, June 29, 2015, finding that the federal agencies that finalized the rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and remanding the rule to the agencies to take comments on a definitional change (Texas, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-cv-162, S.D. Texas, Galveston Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89113).
BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota federal judge on May 14 lifted his preliminary injunction against the Clean Water Rule in the state of Colorado after granting the state’s motion to withdraw as a plaintiff (North Dakota, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-59, D. N.D.).
YAKIMA, Wash. — A Washington state court judge on May 9 issued a final decree adjudicating water rights in the Yakima River Basin, a process that has taken 42 years and gone through two judges (Washington Department of Ecology v. James J. Acquavella, et al., No. 77-2-01484-5, Wash. Super., Yakima Co.).
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on May 2 reversed and remanded a water rights extension approval to the state engineer with orders to show why his decision did not violate the state’s anti-speculation rule for water rights (Sierra Pacific Industries v. Tim Wilson, P.E., et al., No. 73933, Nev. Sup., 2019 Nev. LEXIS 24).
SAN FRANCISCO — The First District California Court of Appeal on April 29 ruled that a 1939 agreement giving water rights to the City of Calistoga was not temporary, did not expire and is not null and void with damages due to the heir of the person who made the agreement (Deborah O’Gorman v. City of Calistoga, No. A150972, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2971).
LOS ANGELES — California’s Imperial Irrigation District on April 18 filed a complaint against four water districts, seeking a court order vacating the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWDSC) agreement to enter the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP) and to conduct an environmental analysis of any water shortfall under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Imperial Irrigation District v. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, et al., No. 19STCP01379, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
HELENA, Mont. — A Montana state court judge on April 9 reversed a beneficial water use permit issued by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to silver and copper mining company RC Resources Inc. and ordered the department to reanalyze water availability (Clark Fork Coalition, et al. v. Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, et al., No. CDV-2018-150, Mont. Dist., Lewis & Clark Co.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island state court judge on April 23 granted summary judgment in a lawsuit by a conservation group and a state town, ruling that state water law does not prevent a town from suppling water for a power generating plant (Conservation Law Foundation, Inc. v. Clear River Energy, LLC, et al., No. PC-2017-1037, Town of Burrillville v. Clear River Energy, LLC., et al., No. PC-2017-039, R.I. Super., Providence, 2019 R.I. Super. LEXIS 34).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on April 29 approved the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and the Fallbrook Public Utility Water District settling a 68-year-old water rights lawsuit (United States v. Fallbrook Public Utility District, et al., No. 51-1247, S.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals court panel on April 24 agreed that a water district did not violate state law or abuse its discretion when it ordered a farmer to remove pistachio trees that were planted three feet away from a water pipeline and when it withheld irrigation water from the farmer for failing to remove the trees himself (Anthony Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors, No. F075810, Calif. App., 5th Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2860).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Water Resources on May 2 said it has formally withdrawn permit applications for the state’s WaterFix project so it can begin an environmental review and planning process for a one-tunnel project.
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on April 30 denied a petition to assume supervisory control over a dispute between neighboring property owners, saying the petitioner failed to demonstrate that urgent or emergency factors make the normal appeal process inadequate (Tatanka Land & Livestock Co., LLC, et al. v. Montana Sixth Judicial District Court, et al., No. OP 19-0097, Mont. Sup., 2019 Mont. LEXIS 173).
CINCINNATI — An Ohio federal judge on March 26 denied a motion by three states to reconsider his March order denying a preliminary injunction against the Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States," 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, June 29, 2015, saying he did not misstate the current status of the rule (Ohio, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-2467, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74424).
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A California state court judge on May 9 issued proposed judgment and writs of mandamus ordering the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to set aside its water curtailment orders issued to five water districts in 2015 when the state was experiencing an unprecedented drought (California Water Curtailment Cases, JCCP No. 4838, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).