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Recent California Water News

 

Unreasonable Use

Jun 30, 2020

Court of Appeal reaffirms State Water Board’s broad authority to regulate unreasonable use through emergency regulations and curtailment orders, even as to riparian and pre-1914 rights, during drought conditions:  “On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the State Water Resources Control Board’s (“State Water Board” or “Board”) authority to regulate what it deems to be an unreasonable use of water, in this case through adoption of emergency regulations establishing minimum instream flow requirements to protect migration of threatened fish species during drought conditions. This opinion echoes the First District Court of Appeal’s recognition of the Board’s authority to adopt a regulation curtailing the exercise of water rights in order to maintain minimum instream flows for fish in times of drought, including curtailment of riparian and pre-1914 water rights, as seen in Light v. State Water Resources Control Board, (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 1463. The regulation at issue in Light established local programs that would monitor streams and potentially require curtailments of diversions used for frost protection. The emergency regulation in this case took a step beyond Light, by directly declaring diversions that would reduce instream flows below specified minimums to be unreasonable. … ”  Read more from the Kronick Law Firm here: Court of Appeal reaffirms State Water Board’s broad authority to regulate unreasonable use through emergency regulations and curtailment orders, even as to riparian and pre-1914 rights, during drought conditions

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