U.S. Water News Online
LOS ANGELES -- A court decision that establishes a management system for groundwater and surface water supplies in the Mojave River Basin is the first major water rights adjudication in California in more than a decade. The adjudication follows settlement of the case Barstow v. City of Adelanto, which involved more than 2,000 parties representing agricultural, municipal, industrial, and residential water users.
The litigation began in 1990 with a complaint filed by the City of Barstow charging overuse of water by agricultural irrigators. The Mojave Water Agency, the wholesale water supplier for the region, filed a cross-complaint in 1991 seeking a general adjudication of water rights in the region. After more than a year of negotiation, the majority of the parties agreed to terms of a judgment. A trial was conducted earlier this year to address the objections of the nonstipulating parties, including the City of Adelanto, farmers, and developers.
A final judgment that establishes a management system for water supply in the Mojave River Basin was issued by District Judge E. Michael Kaiser in Los Angeles. The ruling is a "victory for the whole region," said Fred Fudacz, counsel to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co., one of the largest water suppliers in the region. "It will bring to an end the overdraft of the Mojave Basin and allow for the sustainable development of the area," added Fudacz.
Return to the U.S. Water News' Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage