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News & Press: Court Cases

Water Rights

Tuesday, December 17, 2019  
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City of Santa Maria v. Adam
Cal.App. 6th Dist. (H042712) 12/10/19

This is the third appeal concerning the rights to groundwater contained in the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin. The last appeal was in City of Santa Maria v. Adam (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 504, where the court determined that quantification of the proportionate prescriptive loss attributable to each of the landowners' respective parcels was unnecessary and the upheld the judgment quieting title to landowners' overlying rights to native groundwater.  Here, the trial court denied the landowners' motion to clarify that the judgment protects their overlying rights from future prescription. The court of appeal reversed the denial on the merits, finding that the issue was not ripe because prescriptive rights can arise only in times of overdraft of the water supply, and there was no evidence that such an overdraft situation currently exists.


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