water rights

Drought and the Supreme Court

Does the Court’s Decision in the Raisin Case Imperil Water Management?

When I first read Rick’s writeup of the Supreme Court’s decision in USDA v. Horne, concerning the federal government’s Depression-era system of “marketing orders” that required farmers to set aside a percentage of their raisin crop in a government-controlled account, I was worried about water. And that’s not just because I always worry about water. Horne turned on …


California Court Upholds State Water Board’s Broad Authority to Ban Unreasonable Uses of Water

Ruling is Especially Timely, Given California’s Ongoing and Severe Drought Conditions

I recently wrote about a then-pending court case in which California grape growers were challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s limits on the growers’ diversion of water from California rivers and streams to provide frost protection for their grapes.  That litigation is important because it goes to the heart of the Board’s authority under …


California Enacts Emergency Drought Legislation

State Water Rights Reforms a Key Part of the Legislative Package

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This adage, attributed to Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems especially apt regarding emergency legislation enacted by California lawmakers and signed into law last weekend by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the worst drought in recorded California history. That …


The US wins the latest round in the Casitas saga

In 2008, the Federal Circuit surprised a lot of legal academics by ruling that the Casitas Municipal Water District’s takings claim, which arose from a requirement that the district construct and operate a fish ladder to allow endangered steelhead to pass its diversion dam, should be analyzed using the physical takings test. That didn’t resolve …


What Does Climate Change Mean for Water Rights?

Dan Farber and I, along with Berkeley economist Michael Hanemann, have a new report out on climate change and water rights in California.  The report—Legal Analysis of Barriers to Adaptation by California’s Water Sector—was prepared by Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, and it can be downloaded here.  The report was released …


Gleick’s New Water Blog

Readers with an interest in water issues should take a look at Peter Gleick‘s new blog with the SF Chronicle.  Gleick is the head of the Pacific Institute — and, I’m happy to say, an ERG graduate.


What’s new on the Delta?

Quite a bit, and most of the news is bad. American Rivers has declared the Sacramento-San Joaquin the most endangered river in the United States. The longfin smelt has been listed as threatened by the state, but it is not going to be federally listed, at least not yet. Commercial salmon fishing off the California …