Friday September 23, 2022

Ag Alert

A state appeals court has issued a ruling protecting longstanding water rights of many California farmers, ranchers and water agencies.

California’s Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal ruled that the California State Water Resources Control Board cannot target senior water-rights holders for across-the-board curtailments in water deliveries.

The Sept. 12 ruling was a win for irrigators holding water rights granted before 1914. The court said the water board does not have the power to curtail “an entire class” of senior water rights “solely on the basis that the board believes that there will be insufficient water to serve all pre-1914 appropriative water rights.”

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson called the ruling an important decision that should serve as a notice for state policymakers.

“The Farm Bureau is pleased that the court has recognized senior water rights, which are critical to California communities, agriculture and securing our nation’s food supply,” Johansson said. “As food prices continue to skyrocket, this is a wake-up call for those in charge of California’s water system to reject their current policy of scarcity.”

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