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California Land Use & Development Law Report Legal Commentary on Planning and Development

Category Archives: Water Supply

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State Water Resources Control Board May Weigh the Use of Water for Public Purposes Against Commercial Use by Riparian Users and Early Appropriators in Determining Reasonableness of Commercial Use

Posted in Endangered Species, Environmental Regulation, Water Supply

A court of appeals, for the first time, has upheld the  State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to restrict valid pre-1914 and riparian water rights on the ground that their exercise has become an unreasonable use of water under current circumstances. While it has long been accepted that California law requires that water be put to… Continue Reading

Renewal of Interim Contracts For Delivery of Central Valley Project Water to Districts an Ongoing Project Exempt from CEQA

Posted in Land Use, Water Supply

In February 2012, the Westlands Water District and related water distribution districts entered into two-year interim renewal contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation relating to the Bureau’s ongoing provision of Central Valley Project water to the Districts.  The purpose of the interim contracts was to continue the existing terms for water delivery in advance… Continue Reading

Judicial Review of Environmental Impact Reports: Is There Really A Need for CEQA Reform?

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Water Supply

Every few years, with El Nino-like regularity, a wave of interest in CEQA reform sweeps through the business community, accompanied by pleas to the legislature to overhaul the statute.  In the end, few substantive changes are made.  This year is no exception. (See June 14th post). Many of the recurring concerns involve the unpredictability of… Continue Reading

Definition of “Agency Action” under the Endangered Species Act to be Reheard by Ninth Circuit

Posted in Endangered Species, Environmental Regulation, Water Supply

In July 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Salazar, 686 F.3d 1092 (9th Cir. 2012),  that the decision by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to renew a series of water service contracts in connection with the Central Valley Project did not constitute “agency action” under the Endangered… Continue Reading

Flow of Polluted Water from Lined to Unlined Section of River Doesn’t Constitute “Discharge of a Pollutant”

Posted in Environmental Regulation, Water Supply

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that the flow of polluted water from a concrete channel to an unlined section of the same river constituted a “discharge of pollutants.”  Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. Environmental organizations sued the Los Angeles County… Continue Reading

CEQA Doesn’t Apply to Declaration of Water Emergency Authorized by Judgment Governing Groundwater Basin

Posted in CEQA, Water Supply

A water replenishment district’s declaration of a water emergency was not subject to CEQA because the declaration itself had no environmental impact, it was authorized under the terms of a judgment imposing a physical solution on the groundwater basin,  and the district had no discretion to alter the terms of the judgment which specify the consequences… Continue Reading

U.C. Santa Cruz Expansion Plan EIR Overturned

Posted in CEQA, Water Supply

In Habitat and Watershed Caretakers v. City of Santa Cruz, the court of appeal set aside the EIR for long-term development of the U.C. Santa Cruz campus. The city and the University of California had settled litigation challenging the University’s development plan.   A key provision of the agreement required the city to seek Local Agency… Continue Reading

Water Supply Uncertainty Sinks Another EIR

Posted in CEQA, Water Supply

After wading through a detailed discussion relating to biological impacts (see Perkins Coie Update), the court in Preserve Wild Santee v. City of Santee dove into issues surrounding an EIR’s analysis of water supplies.  The court found the EIR invalid in part because it failed to consider the uncertainty of State Water Project water supplies…. Continue Reading