One victory for Delta water rights

Delta landowners have won a victory in the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB’s) systematic challenge to the reparian/pre-1914 water rights in the Delta.

The SWRCB had issued several Cease and Desist Orders (CDOs) challenging the existence of riparian and/or pre-1914 water rights of property owners on several Delta islands. 

As a result of hearings on those CDOs, SWRCB legal staff and the Delta Water Master appear to have accepted several significant legal arguments set forth by proponents of Delta water rights which were initially challenged by the SWRCB and interested parties (the State Water Contractors, Modesto Irrigation District, and San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Agency).

Attorneys representing a Delta landowner on Union Island were able to demonstrate that riparian rights there had in fact been preserved. Historical background, factual matters, and legal arguments set forth in that case may apply to neighboring properties as well.

Opponents may file a Petition for Reconsideration challenging the SWRCB’s decision within 30 days, but attorneys for the landowner note that the burden of proof required for such a challenge is fairly high.

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