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News & Press: Court Cases

Water Rights: City of Santa Maria v. Adam

Tuesday, July 19, 2016  
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In the previous appeal in this action, the court remanded the matter with instructions, directing the trial court to quiet title to appellant landowners' overlying rights to native groundwater by declaring that these rights have priority over all appropriators, less the amount that the respondents are entitled to pursuant to their prescriptive rights. In this appeal, the court held that quantification of the specific prescriptive loss attributable to each overlying user is not necessary to quiet title. When the groundwater basin has a surplus of water, the quiet title judgment is not meant to specify the exact amount of water each user is entitled to, which would include the amount of the prescriptive rights that can be enforced against each overlying user. Rather, the quiet title judgment is meant to clarify and confirm the priority of appellants' overlying rights, specifying that these rights are superior to all appropriators' rights less the prescriptive rights established by respondents. There is no need for a quiet title judgment clarifying the priority of water users to specifically quantify the users' rights until there is a period of overdraft.

Cal.App. 6th Dist (H041133) 6/24/16


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