Environmental Law & Policy Alert – Update from Somach Simmons & Dunn

November 16, 2022

Colorado River Update:  Department of Interior Announces Intent to (Potentially) Revise Reservoir Operating Guidelines and Impose Additional Cuts in 2023-24 Water Year

On October 28, 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a release stating it is initiating efforts to modify the existing operating guidelines for Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams in in the 2023 and 2024 water year, potentially paving the way for even more drastic water cuts next year to the Lower Basin states of Arizona, Nevada, and California than those spelled out in existing agreements. While it is too early to speculate about what actions (if any) may result from this process, water managers and right-holders should be aware of the potential for significant changes in river management and take advantage of opportunities for public input…. Read More

Written by Daniel J. Condren

November 20, 2022

Court of Appeal Awards Attorneys’ Fees Under the Private Attorney General Doctrine to California Irrigation Districts After Successful Challenge to SWRCB’s Actions Arising from the 2015 Curtailments

On Friday, November 18, 2022, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District (Sixth District Court) reversed the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s denial of an attorneys’ fees award in favor of a group of California irrigation districts and water agencies (Districts) that successfully challenged the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Board) decision to issue certain water right curtailment notices during the 2015 drought. The Sixth District Court held that the Districts are entitled to attorneys’ fees incurred prosecuting the Superior Court litigation against the State Board…. Read More

Written by Theresa C. Barfield, Ellen M. Moskal