We use cookies on this site to enable your digital experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. close

Mealey's Water Rights

  • August 8, 2019

    U.S. Sugar Sues Over Army Corps’ Lake Releases, Alleges Shortages

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers disregarded its own policies and procedures when it lowered water levels in Lake Okeechobee, a Florida lake, causing a “man-made drought,” United States Sugar Corp. alleges in an Aug. 1 complaint filed in a Florida federal court (United States Sugar Corporation v. Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, et al., No. 19-81086, S.D. Fla.).

  • August 8, 2019

    Houston Sues State, Brazos River Authority Over Rights To Water

    AUSTIN, Texas — The city of Houston sued the state of Texas and the Brazos River Authority on July 22 in the Texas 261st Judicial District Court, Travis County, alleging that a recently passed bill requiring it to sell its rights to a proposed reservoir violates the Texas Constitution and exceeds the state’s authority (Houston v. Texas, et al., No. D-1-GN-19-004189, Texas District Court, Travis Co.).

  • August 8, 2019

    United States, California Water Districts Urge Court To Dismiss Takings Claims

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States in a July 1 reply brief urged the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss a breach of contract and water takings lawsuit against it by the city of Fresno and 17 water districts and municipalities, claiming that because the plaintiffs do not “own a cognizable property interest” in the Central Valley Project, the court lacks jurisdiction over their  claims (Fresno, et al. v. United States, No. 16-1276, Fed. Clms.).

  • August 8, 2019

    San Joaquin County Sues State Agency To Stop Drilling For Tunnel Project

    STOCKTON, Calif. — San Joaquin County, Calif., on July 23 sued the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Gregg Drilling LLC in state court, seeking an injunction against geophysical well-drilling in furtherance of a proposed statewide water supply conveyance infrastructure project within portions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta (San Joaquin v. California Department of Water Resources, et al., No. STK-CV-UWM-2019-0009452, Calif Super., San Joaquin Co.).

  • August 8, 2019

    Oklahoma Asks 10th Circuit To Reverse Denial Of Clean Water Rule Injunction

    DENVER — Oklahoma and five business associations on Aug. 6 told the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a federal judge erred by denying a preliminary injunction against the 2015 federal Clean Water Rule “in conflict with the decisions of other courts across the country” (Oklahoma, ex rel. Mike Hunter, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, et al., No. 19-5055, 10th Cir.).

  • August 8, 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.

  • August 8, 2019

    Tribe, Farmer Battle Over Enforcing Water Theft Damages Award To Tribe

    SALT LAKE CITY — A dispute over the alleged misappropriation of water from an Indian Tribe’s federally protected water right has gone to the summary judgment stage, with the tribe arguing July 29 in response to the defendants’ motion and in reply to its own motion in Utah federal court that a tribal court’s award of damages to the tribe should be enforced based on comity (Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation v. Gregory D. McKee, et al., No. 2:18-cv-314, D. Utah).

  • August 8, 2019

    United States Says All Evidence Must Be Considered For Tribe’s Water Claims

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California federal judge should look at all the evidence and reconsider his ruling that a Native American tribe lacks standing to assert water rights claims because the standing issue is an important legal question that the judge “should decide on a complete record,” intervenor the United States says in a Aug. 5 reply brief (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al. v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 5:13-cv-883, C.D. Calif.).

  • August 7, 2019

    Montana High Court Affirms City’s Water Cut From 1,500 To 171 Acre-Feet Per Year

    HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Supreme Court on July 30 affirmed a water court’s decision that a shrinking city was entitled to a lower amount of water because its original volume was largely unused and deemed abandoned (Fort Peck v. Montana, No. DA 18-0697, Mont. Sup., 2019 Mont. LEXIS 174).

  • August 7, 2019

    Bribery-Related Convictions Partially Dismissed In Water Rights Case

    CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on July 19 reversed the conviction of a state water official for extorting money in exchange for water rights permits and partially reversed the conviction of a water district hydrologist for conspiracy, misconduct of a public officer and money laundering for using his office to facilitate the securing of water rights (Robert Alan Coache v. Nevada, No. 72397, and Michael E. Johnson v. Nevada, No. 72401, Nev. Sup., 2019 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 809 and 2019 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 810).

  • August 7, 2019

    California Water District Barred From Helping Plan To Raise Shasta Dam

    REDDING, Calif. — A California state court judge on July 29 enjoined the Westlands Water District from taking any action on a project to raise the height of the Shasta Dam until after the court conducts a trial on the state’s lawsuit to stop the project (California, ex rel. Attorney General Xavier Becerra v. Westlands Water District, et al., No. 19-192487, Calif. Super., Shasta Co.).

  • August 1, 2019

    Suit By Tribe, Fishermen Seeks Reassessment Of Water Project’s Effects On Fish

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California Indian tribe joined two commercial fishing groups July 31 in suing federal agencies over their finding in a recent study and biological opinion that future water withdrawals from the Klamath River will not jeopardize the recover and survival of salmon and killer whale populations (Yurok Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, et al., No. 3:19-cv-04405, N.D. Calif.).

  • July 30, 2019

    Utah High Court Affirms In Part, Reverses In Part Beaver River Water Rights Case

    SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on July 11 said a trial court correctly ruled that an upstream water rights holder did not infringe on the rights of a downstream holder but said the court erred in finding that the upstream user met its obligation to measure its water storage under a 1931 water adjudication decree (Rocky Ford Irrigation Company v. Kents Lake Reservoir Company, et al., No. 20170290, Utah Sup., 2019 Utah LEXIS 113).

  • July 24, 2019

    United States Asks Court To Reconsider Ruling On Tribe’s Groundwater Rights

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The United States on July 16 asked a California federal judge to reconsider his ruling that a Native American tribe lacks standing to assert a claim for quantification of how much groundwater it has a right to or to assert that the water must be of a certain quality (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al. v. Coachella Valley Water District, et al., No. 13-883, C.D. Calif.).

  • July 19, 2019

    Judge: Water Transfer Rule Does Not Bar Clean Water Act Suit

    HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii on July 9 awarded summary judgment to three groups accusing the director of the state’s Agribusiness Development Corp. (ADC) of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging pollutants into the Pacific Ocean via a 40-mile system of unlined trenches, finding that the trenches are not a navigable waterway of the United States (WOTUS) and that the Water Transfer Rule (WTR) does not shield the ADC from obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (Na Kia’I Kai, et al. v. James Nakatani, No. 18cv5, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113929).

  • July 10, 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.

  • July 10, 2019

    Idaho Supreme Court: State Water Department Isn’t Impeding Ranch’s Water Right

    BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court on June 14 said the state water department’s interpretation of a 1989 final decree of water rights did not affect a ranch’s rights to water passing through a water basin (Gordon Sylte, et al. v. Idaho Department of Water Resources, et al., No. 46062, Idaho Sup., 2019 Ida. LEXIS 105).

  • July 10, 2019

    Washington Appeals Court Says State’s Instream Flow Rule Is Arbitrary, Capricious

    TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington appeals panel on June 26 reversed a state trial court and said the state Department of Ecology’s rule for minimum instream summer flows on the lower reach of the Spokane River is inconsistent with state water law, exceeds rule-making authority, is arbitrary and capricious and is thus invalid (Center for Environmental Law & Policy, et al. v. State of Washington Department of Ecology, No. 51439-7-II, Wash. App., Div. 2, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 1668).

  • July 10, 2019

    California:  Water Districts Weren’t Prevailing Parties In Curtailment Cases

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The state of California on July 8 told a state coordination court judge that it should deny a request by three water districts for $291,803 in costs in the water curtailment proceedings, saying the agencies are not prevailing parties entitled to reimbursement (California Water Curtailment Cases, JCCP No. 4838 [West Side Irrigation District, et al. v. California State Water Resources Control Board, et al.], Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).

  • July 10, 2019

    United States Dismissed From Riverflow Lawsuit For Sovereign Immunity

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on June 26 dismissed a river flow lawsuit against the United States after finding that since the case does not involve water rights, the government has not waived its sovereign immunity under the McCarren Amendment (San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 19-177, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107218).