LOS ANGELES — The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) is set April 10 to consider whether to back a scaled-back version of the state’s WaterFix project or to fund the entire project itself, according to a memorandum for the agency’s board meeting.
BISMARCK, N.D. — The United States on April 6 objected to a North Dakota federal magistrate judge’s order lifting the court’s stay of the Clean Water Rule, saying two agencies should not have to simultaneously rewrite the rule and engage in litigation (North Dakota, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-96, D. N.D.).
FRESNO, Calif. — The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on March 7 moved for summary judgment in its 18-year-old lawsuit against the United States for failing to release enough freshwater into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to keep two endangered species of fish from going extinct (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 05-1207, E.D. Calif.).
BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court on March 7 ruled that landowners waived their right to challenge the priority date for a neighbor’s water right after the date was determined by an adjudication special master and court (Ricky C. Holden, et al. v. Jackie Weece, et al., No. 44944, Idaho Sup., 2018 Ida. LEXIS 59).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California state court judge on April 13 vacated a mandamus hearing in a lawsuit accusing the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) of leasing farmland to lock up water sources after the plaintiff irrigation district on March 16 moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice (Palo Verde Irrigation District v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, et al., No. RIC1714672, Calif., Super., Riverside Co.).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on April 3 affirmed a state Water Court ruling on disputes over rights to water from the Teton River that date to 1906 (Teton Cooperative Reservoir Company, et al. v. Farmers Cooperative Canal Co., et al., No. DA 16-0322, Mont. Sup., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 94).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico appeals panel on April 3 affirmed a lower court ruling that a Native American water settlement was fair, adequate, reasonable and consistent with the public interest and state and federal laws (State of New Mexico, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. A-1-CA-33535, N.M. App., 2018 N.M. App. LEXIS 21).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 2 replaced the special master in an interstate water dispute between Texas and New Mexico (Texas v. New Mexico, et al., No. 141 Original, U.S. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on March 27 said it might be forced to limit participation in the ongoing California WaterFix hearing if objectors continue to make “repetitive procedural requests” and ignore the board’s prior rulings.
BROWNING, Mont. — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on March 9 signed the first authorization of funds for the Blackfeet tribe’s expenditure plan under the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act, according to a department press release.
POLSON, Mont. — A Montana trial court judge on Jan. 30 ordered that the Flathead Joint Board of Control be dissolved because its members never conducted an election according to state law (Mission Valley Irrigators United, Inc., et al. v. Flathead Joint Board of Control, et al., No. DV-16-106, Mont. Dist., Lake Co.).
HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on Feb. 6 denied a motion by the state’s natural resources department to take supervisory control over the transfer of the Willow Creek Dam Project to a water users association (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, et al. v. Montana Eighteenth District, et al., No. OP 17-0719, Mont. Sup., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 39).
CINCINNATI — Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan on March 6 filed a motion asking the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to summarily reverse its jurisdiction ruling in their Clean Water Rule challenge and to remand the case to a federal district court in accordance with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case (Ohio, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 16-3564, 6th Cir.).
New developments in the following multiplaintiff, interstate or notable water rights cases are marked in boldface type.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The California State Water Resources Control Board violated the due process of water rights holders by issuing water curtailment notices and taking enforcement actions during the height of the state’s drought, a state court judge ruled Feb. 21 after the first phase of a trial involving eight water districts (California Water Curtailment Cases, JCCP No. 4838, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California state court judge on March 5 refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for allegedly discussing the California WaterFix project in secret (Sacramento, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, No. 34-2018-80002812-CU-GDS, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).
CINCINNATI — Mississippi, Tennessee and Memphis on Feb. 28 submitted a joint statement of stipulated and contested facts to a U.S. Supreme Court special master hearing Mississippi’s interstate water dispute against Tennessee and Memphis (Mississippi v. Tennessee, et al., No. 143, Original, U.S. Sup.).
Colorado will pay Nebraska $4 million for Colorado’s past use of water under the Republican River Compact and the 2002 Final Settlement Stipulation, the two states announced Feb. 22.
FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 15 partially granted summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging a water transfer plan in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta but left it to the parties to work out a proposed judgment on their own and submit it to the court (AquAlliance, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, et al., No. 15-754, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25320).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals court on March 2 reversed a trial court finding that an annual fee on water rights permit and license holders was a tax rather than a valid regulatory fee and that they were unconstitutional (Northern California Water Association, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al., No. C075866, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 180).