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Truly a Watershed Event: California’s Water Board Proposes Base Flows for the San Joaquin River Tributaries

In 1878, John Wesley Powell, the first director of the United States Geological Survey, published his Report on the Lands in the Arid Regions of the United States. In his Arid Lands Report, Powell foresaw the essential role that water would play in the development of the American west and the challenges faced in managing watersheds that included not only mainstem rivers but networks of tributaries that contributed water to mainstem rivers.
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Millview County Water District v. State Water Resources Control Board: Use it or lose it? Review of Forfeiture of Pre-1914 Appropriative Rights in California

Use it or lose it — that is the California way. Or is it? Many practicing California water law attorneys long assumed that forfeiture of a pre-1914 appropriative right could automatically occurred after five years of nonuse. However, a recent state appellate opinion puts this assumption in jeopardy.
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2015 California Water Law Symposium: A Recap of “Reasonable Use Law in California”

In the context of California's history-making drought — the worst in 1,200 years — experts at the 2015 California Water Law Symposium debated reasonable, beneficial, and wasteful uses of the state's dwindling and precious water resources. Celebrating its eleventh year, this symposium, entitled "Wasted Water: Reasonable Use Law in 21st Century California," was hosted by Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco on January 24 and saw participation from half a dozen law schools and experts from law firms, nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses across California.
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The Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases

Nearly two-thirds of the California population and seven million acres of agricultural land receive water from the State Water Project ("SWP") operated by the California Department of Water Resources ("DWR") or the Central Valley Project ("CVP") operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) (SWP and CVP collectively referred to as "Projects"). In the Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases, two district court opinions for the Eastern District of California review a Biological Opinion ("BiOp") issued in 2008 by the Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS") that placed restrictions on the Projects' operations to protect endangered species.
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In re Consolidated Salmonid Cases

Nearly two-thirds of the California population and seven million acres of agricultural land receive water from the State Water Project ("SWP") operated by the California Department of Water Resources ("DWR") or the Central Valley Project ("CVP") operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation ("Bureau") (SWP and CVP, collectively referred to as "Projects"). In the Consolidated Salmonid Cases, the Eastern District Court of California reviewed a Biological Opinion ("BiOp") issued in 2009 by the National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") that placed restrictions on the Projects' operations to protect endangered species.
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From The Ground Up: California’s Drought Prompts Sweeping Groundwater Legislation

In the midst of California’s most severe drought in thirty years, legislators took an historic step towards remedying its long-term negative impacts on the state’s groundwater supply. On Friday, August 29th, the California Senate and Assembly passed a package of bills (SB 1168, SB 1319, and AB 1739) which aims to regulate the extraction of groundwater and establish a sustainable program of groundwater management over the next 50 years.
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Smolt

Frost Protection Diversions and Stranded Salmon — The California Court of Appeal Affirms State Water Board Reliance on Reasonable Use Law To Maintain Instream Flow

In California water law these days, there is increasing talk about the reasonable use provisions of the California Constitution and the California Water Code. These provisions provide that all water uses and methods of water diversion in California must be reasonable and cannot be wasteful.
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