‘War is on’ for water bond

Superior Court Order Delineating Water Rights Trumps Local Water Management Agency Authority

by Cassie N. Aw-yang
cawyang@somachlaw.com

In a case arising from the 2007 adjudication of the Seaside Groundwater Basin in Monterey County, California, the Sixth District Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) upheld the trial court’s decision disallowing a local water management agency from using its permitting authority in conflict with the adjudication judgment. 

The decision struck a balance by acknowledging that the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (District) retains certain powers to regulate the Seaside Basin – provided those powers are not exercised in a manner inconsistent with the 2007 judgment. 

As a result, a development company with water rights confirmed in the 2007 judgment will be able to continue processing its project without environmental review of potential impacts to the Seaside Basin, and without the District imposing reductions in the company’s Seaside Basin water rights.

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Whose Water Is It? Area of Origin Water Rights

by Gary Pitzer

“Let me state, clearly and finally, the Interior Department is fully and completely committed to the policy that no water which is needed in the Sacramento Valley will be sent out of it. There is no intent on the part of the Bureau of Reclamation ever to divert from the Sacramento Valley a single acre-foot of water which might be used in the valley now or later.” – J.A. Krug, Secretary of the Interior, Oct. 12, 1948, speech at Oroville, CA

More than 60 years after Secretary Krug’s speech, the conflict over water has intensified after users in the north state filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) that alleges a breach of a decades-old promise to fulfill water needs locally before exporting supplies to drier regions beyond the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Thursday’s top of the scroll: State Water Resources Control Board convenes hearing on Cease and Desist Order regarding the validity of pre-1914 and riparian water rights in the Delta

On May 5, 2010, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board” or “Board”) began formal enforcement proceedings to determine the validity of pre-1914 and riparian water rights claimed by several landowners in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (“Delta”).  The Central Delta Water Agency and South Delta Water Agency filed suit against the State Water Board to prevent the Board from engaging in such enforcement proceedings, arguing that the State Water Board lacks authority to determine the validity of pre-1914 and riparian rights in enforcement proceedings.  Ultimately, those efforts failed.  The State Water Board’s decision could have significant precedential effects.

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Desalination project cost model advances

By JIM JOHNSON
Herald Salinas Bureau

SAN FRANCISCO — Proponents and critics of a proposed desalination project for the Peninsula on Wednesday agreed to a model for judging costs for the project.

The agreement capped off a three-day workshop that focused on the cost of the project, and it earned praise from state Public Utilities Commission representatives in charge of the workshops.

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Farmers use less water than most people think

By JOHN GARNER

Some people believe farmers use too much water. However, the amount of water actually used to grow our food is far less than many people believe.
I am a second-generation family farmer. We produce rice and walnuts in the Sacramento Valley. Like most family farmers, we don’t take water for granted. We often use the same water over and over again as it moves from farm to farm. We also pay for our water.Read more…  

Water options start flowing; committee, public float ideas to help solve water district dilemma on North coast

John Driscoll/The Times-Standard

In what would be a reversal of irony, the lake-less city of Blue Lake could someday get a lake.

Creating a lake for fishing and boating is among the options explored as part of a process launched by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District to find ways to use its abundant water and not lose it to an outside interest. The water could also be put to use by expanding the district’s boundaries, be used for aquaculture, be piped to another area or used to increase flows for salmon in the Mad River, from which the system is supplied.

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