SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California state appeals court on Aug. 29 ruled that the public trust doctrine still applies to county-issued permits for groundwater extraction and is not supplanted by the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) (Environmental Law Foundation, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al., No. C083239, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 775).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 affirmed dismissal of a South Dakota Native American tribe’s water takings claims against the United States, agreeing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the tribe had not pleaded that it was not getting the water it is entitled to and has suffered no injury (Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States, Fed. Cir., No. 17-2340, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2300).
TACOMA, Wash. — The city of Port Angeles, Wash., on Aug. 14 voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit alleging that the United States breached a dam-removal law and memorandum of understanding by failing to address water quality problems that the city said were interfering with its water right (Port Angeles v. United States, et al., No. 18-5603, W.D. Wash., Tacoma).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 reversed a district court’s ruling in a New Mexico water adjudication and remanded the case for entry of an order dismissing about 800 objections to a settlement (New Mexico, ex rel. State Engineer, et al. v. Nansy Carson, et al., No. 17-2147, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22609).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on Aug. 16 issued a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration’s “Suspension Rule” that purportedly delays implementation of the Clean Water Rule until 2020 while a new rule is written (South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 18-330, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138595).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 9 discharged Ralph I. Lancaster as the special master in Florida’s groundwater lawsuit against Georgia and appointed Senior Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as the new special master (Florida v. Georgia, No. 142, Original, U.S. Sup.).
PHOENIX — In a fractured ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court on Aug. 9 held that the state’s water law does not require the state water resources department to consider unquantified federal reserved water rights when it determines whether a developer has an adequate water supply (Robin Silver, M.D., et al. v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Company, et al., No. CV-16-0294-PR, Ariz. Sup., 2018 Ariz. LEXIS 226).
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas and the United States on July 20 and July 23 answered counterclaims filed by New Mexico in its U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit involving alleged violations of the Rio Grande Compact (Texas v. New Mexico, et al., No. 141, Original, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on July 25 denied a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s operation of the Klamath Irrigation Project and transferred a Native American tribe’s lawsuit against Reclamation to the Oregon federal court, saying the case has more in common with Oregon than California (Klamath Tribes v. United States Bureau of Reclamation, No. 18-3078, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124741).
CINCINNATI — The United States on July 24 asked another federal court to hold in abeyance plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction against the Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States," 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, June 29, 2015, saying the government’s subsequent Applicability Rule acts to delay the Clean Water Rule until 2020, by which time the government may have a replacement rule (Ohio, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-2467, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California state court judge on July 25 ordered the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) to pay the San Diego County Water Authority $28.67 million plus interest for overcharging water transportation costs, with possibly more in restitution and attorney fees (San Diego County Water Authority v. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, et al., Nos. CPF-10-510830 and CPF-12-512466, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. — The city of Port Angeles, Wash., on July 27 sued the United States for allegedly breaching a dam-removal law and memorandum of understanding by failing to address water quality problems that the city says is interfering with its water right (Port Angeles v. United States, et al., No. 18-5603, W.D. Wash., Tacoma).
The governors and attorneys general of Kansas and Colorado on Aug. 3 announced that they have signed an agreement to resolve Kansas’ claims about Colorado’s past use of water under the Republican River Compact.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Thirteen states on July 30 told a North Dakota federal court that it should grant their motion for summary judgment against the United States in their case challenging the legality and constitutionality of the Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States,” 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, June 29, 2015 (North Dakota, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-59, D. N.D.).
UVALDE, Texas — A Texas state court on July 25 enjoined an aquifer authority from changing rules that a groundwater district and a farming couple say will affect its rights (Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District, et al. v. Edwards Aquifer Authority, No. 2018-01-31972, Texas Dist., Uvalde Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington state appeals panel on July 25 affirmed a trial court ruling enjoining an environmental political action committee from placing a ballot initiative that would require a public vote on large water use applications in the city of Tacoma, Wash. (Port of Tacoma, et al. v. Save Tacoma Water, et al., No. 49263-6-II, Wash. App., Div. II, 2018 Wash. App. LEXIS 1724).
LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court on July 20 affirmed dismissal of a groundwater appeal, finding that under the state’s Administrative Procedure Act, the petitioners filed their appeal in the wrong county court (Estate of Gerald Schluntz, et al. v. Lower Republican Natural Resources District, et al., No. S-17-970, Neb. Sup.).
BISMARCK, N.D. — The United States on July 16 opposed a motion for summary judgment in a Clean Water Rule case in North Dakota federal court (North Dakota, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-59, D. N.D.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s secretary of natural resources on July 17 sent a letter to four congressmen opposing an appropriations bill rider that would preclude lawsuits involving the California WaterFix Project.