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Category Archives: Water Rights


California Water Rights Compliance Deadlines

This is a reminder that April 1 is the deadline for surface water diverters in California to report their water use to the State Water Resources Control Board.  By now, you should have received instructions from the State Water Board for doing so. As always, please consult our Annual Water Rights Checklist for additional water … Continue Reading »



The conflict between federal law and the recent actions of several states, including California, in the legalization of cannabis use and cultivation is well known. This conflict extends to the use of water for cannabis cultivation in situations where the water supply originates from a federal project. In 1970, Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act … Continue Reading »


Governor Vetoes AB 313 but Leaves the Door Open to Future Changes in Water Rights Adjudications

Author: Bradley Herrema Author: Jessica Diaz On Oct. 15, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 313, authored by Assemblymember Adam Gray (D–Merced). AB 313, covered in an earlier blog post, proposed to shift hearing authority over water right violation matters from the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to administrative … Continue Reading »


AB 313 Could Take Water Right Violation Hearings Away from State Water Board

Author: Bradley Herrema Author: Jessica Diaz The California legislative session recently concluded, and among the most surprising arrivals to the Governor’s desk was Assembly Bill (AB) 313, authored by Assemblymember Adam Gray (D – Merced).  AB 313 would transform the adjudicative process for water right violation matters by shifting hearing authority from the State Water … Continue Reading »


Agua Caliente Indians Win Federal Appeal; Tribal Groundwater Rights Based on Purpose of Water Use at the Time Reservation Created

Author: Adrian LeCesne Editor: Michael Fife The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a decision affirming the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ (the “Tribe”) right to groundwater in the Coachella Valley. The court found that the Tribe holds a federal “reserved right” to groundwater based on the intended agrarian purposes of the reservation … Continue Reading »


Discharge Permits Not Required to Transfer Water: Court Upholds EPA Rule

                        Authors: Rhonda L. Sandquist, Michael P. Smith, Christine Jochim   The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently issued a long-awaited ruling confirming the legality of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Water Transfers Rule in Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. … Continue Reading »


Brownstein’s Annual California Water Rights Compliance Checklist – 2017

Brownstein’s California Water Group is pleased to provide you with our California Water Rights: Compliance Checklist for 2017. This checklist provides a summary of state water right reporting requirements and applicable deadlines for users of surface water and groundwater in California. Use the link to find: Our summary of filings required for all surface water and groundwater users … Continue Reading »

Groundwater Series

A Sneak Preview: DWR’s Best Management Practices to Guide the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act from Paper to Reality

  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is underway. The principle implementation issues to date in most basins have concerned who will govern and how the management lines are drawn, with basin boundary modifications recently released and the deadline for GSA formation fast approaching on June 30, 2017. But looming larger are questions about how … Continue Reading »

Upcoming Speaking Engagements and Events – November

November 10, 2016 Jena Shoaf Acos and Elisabeth L. Esposito will be presenting California Water Law MCLE for the Santa Barbara Barristers.  This focused legal program provides an overview of California water law, including an explanation of the state’s dual water rights system (i.e., riparian and appropriative rights) and recent groundwater legislation. The presentation will … Continue Reading »

Groundwater Series

State Water Board Nixes Flawed “One Size Fits All” Conservation Mandates

On May 18, 2016, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted new emergency conservation regulations that repeal and replace its prior drought regulations. The new regulations, which are effective from June 2016 through January of 2017, now allow local agencies to develop conservation standards based upon their unique circumstances. These new … Continue Reading »