Water Rights

News & Analysis as of

Water Rights Adjudication Process Serving Streamlined

AB 1390 expedites comprehensive groundwater adjudications to determine rights to extract groundwater in a basin. While AB 1390, a companion bill to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, streamlines several...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - Senate votes to block EPA’s clean water rule: The Hill - Nov 4:: The U.S. Senate approved a bill Wednesday to block the Obama administration’s new regulation defining federal authority...more

Five Considerations Before Selling a Vineyard or Winery

Whether to sell a vineyard or winery is one of the most significant decisions an owner will make. There are financial, career, lifestyle, and other factors that go into the choice, and the calculation is different for each...more

California Water Board Lifts Curtailment of Senior Water Rights in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday issued a notice lifting water diversion restrictions for the holders of all senior water rights in the Sacramento-San Joaquin watersheds and Delta. The Board issued the...more

California Water Commission Adopts Regulations For Changing Groundwater Basin Boundaries

On October 21, 2015, the California Water Commission (“CWC”) adopted emergency regulations formulated by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) that establish a process by which local agencies may seek groundwater basin...more

Governor Brown Authorizes Streamlined Groundwater Basin Adjudications and Private Party Participation Under Sustainable...

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed a suite of bills that has the potential to significantly increase litigation over groundwater rights. Together, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226 authorize streamlined...more

California Adopts Comprehensive Groundwater Basin Adjudication Law

California enacts basin adjudication statutes with the goal of reducing uncertainty, costs and time of water rights litigation. On October 9, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226...more

Governor Signs New SGMA Legislation Outlining Procedures for Groundwater Adjudications

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law two bills, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226, which outline procedures specific to groundwater adjudications. Last year, the legislature passed the Sustainable...more

New California Laws Will Ease Groundwater Right Battles, Yet Encourage More Litigation

On October 9, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills aimed at making groundwater disputes easier and faster to resolve in court. The new laws—companion bills AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley)—streamline...more

New California Groundwater Laws Portend More Litigation, But Faster Resolution

Last week, the California Legislature sent two important bills on groundwater to Governor Jerry Brown for signature. The bills promise to revamp California’s complicated, lengthy, and arduous judicial process for adjudicating...more

Legislation Revamping California Groundwater Adjudications Marches Forward

AB 1390 aims in unprecedented fashion to expedite procedures and processes for groundwater adjudications, which, in California, are known to take one or two decades before reaching a final judgment. The bill would add various...more

California Drought Prompts Bout Among Regulators and Farmers

As the drought drags on and lawns grow brown across California, a battle is raging over the scope of the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to restrict the diversion of water from rivers, lakes and...more

Proposed Policies for Implementing B.C.’s New Water Sustainability Act Available for Comment

On July 30, 2015, the British Columbia government released four discussion papers for public comment outlining proposed new policies for regulations under the Water Sustainability Act. These papers are important as much of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: Coastkeeper's suit against water agency dismissed - San Diego Union-Tribune - Jul 31: A San Diego superior court judge ruled against an environmental group on July 30, rejecting its...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - California State Water Board seeks fines from local water district for alleged drought-related violations: Sacramento Bee - Jul 20 - State drought regulators went on the offensive against...more

First Water Curtailment Action Filed in California

In the first of possibly many enforcement actions this year, the State Water Resource Control Board issued a draft cease-and-desist order against West Side Irrigation District in Tracy, Calif., demanding the District curb its...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Water rights ruling a setback for California drought regulators: Sacramento Bee - Jul 10: In a significant ruling that could hinder California's ability to order water cutbacks, a judge...more

Government Response to Drought Conditions in B.C. Creates Potential for Water Use Curtailment

On July 15, the British Columbia government announced a Level 4 drought rating for the South Coast and Lower Fraser areas of the province, which could lead to orders to temporarily reduce or cease water use and put rights...more

Users Guide to California Water Rights

Much editorial space has been devoted of late to stories about surface water - water from lakes, rivers and streams - and who has a right to use it, who is using too much of it, and who is being hardest hit by the current...more

Irrigation District Sues, Says State Board Lacks Jurisdiction to Curtail Senior Water Rights

On June 26, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) filed a petition for writ of mandate in Contra Costa County Superior Court requesting that the Court set aside the State Water Resources Control Board’s June 12, 2015...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - June 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - State Water Contractors accuse California farmers of illegally taking river water: KPCC - Jun 16: The State Water Contractors, an association of 27 public agencies that purchase water...more

Fish & Game Code Section 1602 Is Unambiguous, Now Requiring More Water Users To Provide “1602 Notification” To “Substantially...

On June 4, 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that California Fish and Game Code section 1602 (“Section 1602”) unambiguously requires notification to the Department of Fish and Wildlife (“Department”) if an entity or individual...more

A CEQA Trustee Agency “Muscles Up”: Third District Holds Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Newly Exercised Power To Require Notice...

Under CEQA, a “trustee agency” is a “state agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by a project which are held in trust for the people of the State of California” and “[t]he California Department of...more

Utah Legislative Update: 2015 Water Law Legislation

This year the Utah Legislature took action on two water law issues that it has struggled with for several years—the authority of the State Engineer to consider forfeiture during review of change applications and the rights of...more

State Board Issues Curtailment Notices of Surface Water Rights Diversions

Just as it did in 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board has issued several notices of curtailment for surface water rights holders in various watersheds because California’s extreme drought has resulted in...more

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