Siskiyou County gets appeal on Public Trust suit; ELF, water board:
ELF v SWRCB and Siskiyou County
Water is not property
ELF Appeal Response
Water Board Appeal Response

CA Water Plan Update 2013 CA   ; Water Plan Framework for Integrated Water Management and Sustainability

Agricultural Water Use in California: A 2011 Update; Study finds farmers efficiently use water; Quantifying the Efficiency of Agricultural Water Use Department of Water Resources 11/15/2011 ; Agricultural Water Stewardship Resource Center

new.gif (26402 bytes)Court allows water contracts to stand, Capital Press 7/18/12. "A federal appeals court has refused to nullify water supply contracts between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and irrigators in California." HERE for court decision.

new.gif (26402 bytes)Report says groundwater pumping is depleting Scott River flows; The tribe indicates that it will form a technical work group and develop a restoration plan for the area; Karuk groundwater study results released; Exec. Summary of Report; Karuk Natural Resources Strategy

new.gif (26402 bytes) Riverkeeper files Dwinell lawsuit; Shasta River, Once Perfect for Salmon; Environmental group sues over Siskiyou County dam; Montague Water Conservation District reviewing copy of Dwinell complaint ; NMFS weighs in on DwinellEnvironmental group sues over Siskiyou County dam ; Montague water district says Klamath Riverkeeper's intent to sue contains 'substantial inaccuracies'Klamath Riverkeeper plans to sue Shasta River dam operator; Enviro group may sue to remove Lake Shastina's dam in Siskiyou County; Group plans to sue to remove Dwinnell Dam in Siskiyou County; Group files intent to sue over Dwinell DamGroup threatens suit over Siskiyou County dam; Pomona Grange Notice of Intent to Riverkeepers to file counter suit for intent to file frivolous civil suit against the Montague Water Conservation District; Another Dwinell lawsuit ; Montague water district pitches in for coho

new.gif (26402 bytes)New online application and other tools expand public access to critical data for assessing water availability across the West

new.gif (26402 bytes)Water Efficiency for Instream Flow Making the Link in Practice

new.gif (26402 bytes)California faces growing water management challenges

new.gif (26402 bytes)California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) authorized by SBX7 6, enacted in November 2009

new.gif (26402 bytes)Karuk Tribe, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board conduct parallel [groundwater] studies 

new.gif (26402 bytes)Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act

Scientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water Runoff

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case on States' River Rights - The Supreme Court justices are being asked to clarify the definition of a navigable river, a decision that could also affect the rights to lands beneath the streams and rivers all over the U.S

Article and DOI Study - SECURE Water Act Section 9503(c) – Reclamation Climate Change and Water 2011  on climate change's impact on the west

WaterSMART Clearinghouse

Armstrong Public Comment on WaterSMART

USBoR website on the Klamath WaterSMART study (Klamath Basin Climate Change and Water Resources Assessment.) Reclamation Climate Change and Water Program Secure Water ; Information Secure Water Act

Klamath River subject of climate study Scientists will examine effects of climate on water supplies The two-year, $1.955 million study will explore the potential effect of climate change on water supplies for agriculture and fish, then ultimately identify strategies to cope with those impacts in hopes of balancing all stakeholders’ needs.

Half the funding for the study came from U.S. Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART program, a method to implement measures in the Secure Water Act, said Peter Soeth, with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. ... The 2009 Secure Water Act is intended to give state and federal agencies authority to plan for the impact of climate change, among other threats, on water supplies. The Oregon and California water resource departments will pay the other half, Soeth said. The departments jointly sought the federal funding, which was awarded in a competitive application process.

The study’s conclusions will fulfill a small section of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which says signatories — including Oregon, California, U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation — will work to identify and mitigate the effects of climate change, said David Raff, basin studies coordinator for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Salazar Announces $2.7 Million in WaterSMART ("Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow") Funding to Study River Basins and Improve Water Systems - Klamath River Basin has been selected for a dull-basin study to "include basin-specific plans that recommend collaborative solutions to help meet water demands and foster sustainable development."S. Bureau of Reclamation provides funding for Klamath River study A total of $1,944,000 will go for studying the Klamath River Basin, ”The basin study will collaboratively develop a basin wide perspective of the climate change-related risks for supply and demand that may affect agriculture, anadromous and resident fish, recreation, municipal and domestic water supplies, hydropower and flood control facilities,” Interior said. “This effort will assess potential impacts of climate change on snowpack and precipitation, timing and quality of runoff, groundwater recharge and discharge and any increases in demand and/or reservoir evaporation; and will develop structural and non-structural options to address current and projected imbalances in the basin.”Basin Study FrameworkDOI WaterSMART Strategic Implementation Plan; All DOI bureaus are working with partners within the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Climate Science Centers (CSCs), identified within Secretarial Order 3289, which include outreach and coordination activities with water, fish, wildlife, cultural, and land resources. The office of the Assistant Secretary of Water and Science is leading the implementation of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, authorized by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, P.L. 111-11 , which brings together local watershed stakeholders to design and implement projects that enhance water conservation, improve water quality, increase ecological resiliency, and reduce the potential for water conflict. This program will include DOI bureaus as well as state and local governments and other interested entities.

The Order creating WaterSMART Section 4(a) of Secretarial Order 3297 provides that the Department of the Interior (DOI) will coordinate across agencies and programs to implement water sustainability efforts. Federal Register Notice Comments due on or before August 1 e-mail WaterSMARTBOR@usbr.gov.



2002 Sustainable Water Resources Rountable





image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California Water Plan Update 2009

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California's Water An LAO Primer (2008)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Water Rights: Issues and Perspectives (LAO)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)General Primer on California Water Use Rights (Northern CA Water Assoc.)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes) Appropriative Water Rights in CA (Gov. Commission to Review CA Water Rights 1977) ; A Guide to CA Water Right Appropriations

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Legal Aspects of Instream Water Uses in CA (Gov. Commission to Review CA Water Rights 1978)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California Water Rights and Procedures (historic - at time of Scott River Adjudication)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California Water CodeCalifornia Water Code Sections 10753-10753.10 CHAPTER 3. GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT PLANS ; CAL. WAT.

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)The California law of water rights by Wells A. Hutchins

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California Surface Water Rights: A Primer

image075.jpg (1080 bytes) Siskiyou County Code Section 10-11.01-.05 "No agricultural activity, operation or facility or appurtenances thereof, conducted or maintained for commercial purposes, and in a manner consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards and with all chapters of this code, as established and followed by similar agricultural operations, shall be or become a nuisance, public or private, pursuant to this code after the same has been in operation for more than three (3) years, if it was not a nuisance when it began."

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)State of CA SWRCB Order WR 98-08 In the Matter of the Declaration of Fully Appropriated Stream Systems in California (Includes the Scott and Shasta Rivers, part of the Klamath and many other tributaries    Pgs. 56-58)

 image075.jpg (1080 bytes)State Water Resources Control Board Statement of Water Diversion and Use

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)CA Water Plan Update 2013 Sustainability Indicators Workshop California Footprint Sustainability Indicators; Water Quality Outline for Regional Reports California Water Plan Update 2013

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)California Water Plan Update Process


image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Articles and Other Ca water resources:

Siskiyou County

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Water Resources Strategy Development (for Siskiyou County excluding Scott Valley) Part 1, Part 2

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)County considers grant for (watermaster) service. (Approved by the Bd. of Supervisors) ; Column 6/3/11 Watermaster Svc.

Part I. Fee Collection.

Water Code section 4275:  Except as provided in Article 5, the department, on or before the 15th day of August of each year, shall certify to the auditor and the board of supervisors of each county having a watermaster service area, or part of a watermaster service area, the amount required, in order to pay the apportionments for the ensuing fiscal year, to be levied on the land used in the storage or diversion, conveyance or distribution of the water stored or diverted under the right and the land on which the water is, or is entitled to be, used.

WC section 4276:  The auditor shall enter the amounts of the respective apportionments against the respective parcels of land as they appear on the current assessment roll.   If any parcel is part of a larger parcel, the auditor may enter the apportionment against the larger parcel.

WC section 4277:  The board of supervisors of each county in which there lies a watermaster service area or any portion thereof shall annually, and at the time of levying county taxes, levy on the land within the county and within the watermaster service area apportionments sufficient to raise the amounts certified by the department.

WC 4278:  Apportionments levied pursuant to this article shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner as county taxes.  So far as applicable, all provision of law relating to the equalization, levy, payment, and collection of county taxes shall apply to such apportionments and all provisions of law relating to the duties of county officers in relation to county taxes shall apply to such apportionments, except as otherwise expressly provided by this chapter, so far as the same are or may be made applicable.

Part II.  Alternative collection method.

WC section 4325:   The procedure set forth in this article for collecting and making available money for watermaster distribution is in lieu of that set forth in the other provisions of this chapter.

WC section 4326:  Whenever all the owners of rights to water within any service area, by agreement in writing, shall have organized themselves into an association for the purpose of financing the distribution of the water to which they are entitled and shall have agreed therein as to the apportionment of the expense and the payment thereof and shall have filed with the department a copy of the agreement duly certified and authenticated by the president and secretary of the association, the department shall thereafter submit the statement provided for in this chapter to the association.

WC section 4327:  The statement shall be submitted on or before the first day of September of the year preceding that for which it is made.

WC section 4329:  The association shall pay the total amount apportioned to it to the department on or before the first day of December next succeeding the receipt of the statement.

Part III.  Consequences of non-payment by an association

WC section 4331:  The department may refuse to render watermaster service to such service area during any calendar year next succeeding the first day of December of any year during which the association fails to pay the total amount apportioned to it on or before the first day of December of such year.

new.gif (26402 bytes)Local watermaster up and running 2012

County residents educated about Watermaster District Siskiyou Daily News January 15, 2008

  • In 2004, the total assessment for Siskiyou County was $84,860. But, because of a deficit California State budget and other government claims, the 2005 assessment fee jumped to $377,000. -- The Scott River assessment was increased from $22,600 to $129,000 for water master service. -- The Shasta River assessment went from $62,160 to $247,900.
  • California water master fees may be reduced

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Drought Management Plan (NRCS) Work Plan for Adaptive Management Klamath River Basin Oregon & California 2004; Draft Klamath (KBRA) drought plan; Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors and the Siskiyou Co. Flood Control District's Response to the Draft Drought Plan

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Navigable and non-navigable Streams;
Armstrong Public Comment EPA to extend jurisdiction to non-navigable streams 

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Uncompensated "taking" of pre-1914 adjudicated water use rights through TMDL (Water Quality) requirements for fish



seasonal runoff.jpg (39048 bytes)

Siskiyou County Conservation Element (General Plan)

blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

Siskiyou County Water Conservation and Flood Control District

CA Water Code 5900-5901; Klamath River Basin Compact;or here  Appendix B - Siskiyou County Water Conservation and Flood Control District Boundaries: "All of that territory of the County of Siskiyou lying within the exterior boundaries thereof, exclusive of the area in Siskiyou County within the Upper Klamath River Basin, as delineated on the Official Map of the Upper Klamath River Basin approved September 6, 1956, and made a part of the Klamath River Basin compact between the States of Oregon and California, ratified by said states on April 17, 1957."

 "(r) To control flood and storm waters within the district and the flood and storm waters or streams outside the district, which flow into the district; to conserve such waters by storage in surface reservoirs, to divert and transport such waters for beneficial uses within the district; to release such waters from surface reservoirs to replenish and augment the supply of water in natural underground reservoirs and otherwise to reduce the waste of water and to protect life and property from floods within the district; to commence, maintain, intervene in, defend or compromise, in the name of the district, on behalf of the landowners therein, or otherwise to assume the cost and expenses of any action or proceeding involving or affecting the ownership or use of waters or water rights within or without the district, used or useful for any purpose of the district or of the common benefit of any land situated therein, or involving the wasteful use of water therein; to commence, maintain, intervene in, defend and compromise and to assume the cost and expenses of any and all actions or proceedings now or hereafter begun; to prevent interference with or diminution of, or to declare the rights in natural flow of any stream or surface or subterranean supply of waters used or useful for any purpose of the district or of common benefit of the lands within the district or to its inhabitants; to prevent unlawful exportation of water from said district; to prevent contamination, pollution or otherwise rendering unfit for beneficial use the surface or subsurface water used or useful in said district, and to commence, maintain and defend actions and proceedings to prevent any such interference with   the aforesaid waters as may endanger or damage the inhabitants, lands, or use of water in, or flowing into, the district provided, however, that said district shall not have power to intervene or take part in or to pay the costs or expenses of actions or controversies between the owners of lands or water rights which do not affect the interests of the district."

In addition, there is a reserved storage right of 60,000 acre feet per year in Iron Gate Reservoir to serve irrigation and other consumptive uses in the Shasta Valley. 

Klamath Compact:


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)


Scott River adjudication : decree no. 30662 : Scott River stream system, Siskiyou County / Superior Court for Siskiyou County was entered on January 30, 1980 in Civil Judgments Volume 45, Page 468 and recorded in Book 881, Page 280 of Official Records; as amended by order dated September 11, 1980 in Civil Judgments Volume 46, Page 393 and recorded in Book 899, Page 218 of Official Records. (The original "Notice of Intent" was published in 1974.)

The adjudication further incorporated existing agreements between parties including: Newton-Gregg; South Fork Callahan Ditch; Farmers Ditch; Wolford Ditch; Etna Mill Ditch; Barker Ditch; Wright and Fletcher Ditch; Friden Ditch; Pereira Ditch; Rock Fence and Kangaroo Lakes; East Fork of the Scott River; Sugar Creek; Oro Fino; North Patterson and Moffet Creek.

Watermaster Service is being provided by the Department of Water Resources for Schackleford, Sniktaw, Oro Fino, French and Wildcat tributaries.

The water rights set forth in the decree include use to all surface waters that contribute to the flow of the Scott River stream system, including rights to tailwater, waste and return flow, supporting underflow and interconnected ground water, (a maximum of 500 feet adjacent to the river as delineated on the State Water Resources Control Board map from the confluence of Clarks Creek and the Scott River to Meamber Bridge,) and excluding Shackleford and French Creeks and their tributaries (previously adjudicated in 1950 and 1958 respectively.) Ground water outside the delineated area is not adjudicated. (A diverter may take his adjudicated amount either by surface or groundwater in the interconnected zone.)

The adjudication identifies 40 tributaries or stream groups that are independent in respect to non-surplus rights on other streams or stream groups. Rights to divert the natural flow of the main stem Scott River are separated into 5 separate sections. Non-surplus rights within each section may be exercised independently from those in another section but relative to the priority established for the section in which they lie.  Post-1914 appropriative rights are held to be inferior to all other rights except surplus rights. (This included 34 permits, 41 licenses and 7 stockpond certificates.)

Relativity of rights within a section are established by priority classes. Should available water be insufficient to satisfy all water use rights of any particular class, the available water shall be prorated as a correlative right with others of that class in that section.

Irrigation season is established "from about April 1 to about October 15 of each year." Diversion structures must be constructed to allow an water in excess of the specific diversion allotment to pass to the stream channel to allow passage of fish during irrigation season, but prior to about June 1. (There is no prohibition in the adjudication from dewatering a stream in exercise of water use rights as quantified.) Those with gravel diversion dams must breach the dam at the end of the irrigation season to allow adult fish to ascend to spawning grounds. (There is no general limitation for consideration of fisheries during the period between June 1 and October 15.) Domestic and stockwatering users are entitled to .01 cfs at place of use during the nonirrigation season.  

Beneficial use categories are domestic; "recreational domestic" (drinking, culinary, and washing use outside by campers); stockwatering; irrigation (surface or subirrigation); irrigation with incidental domestic and stockwatering; municipal; industrial (lumber mill operations, timber harvest, road building and maintenance, dust control on logging roads); mining (including gravel operations); power (generation from falling water only); storage; firefighting; wildlife/fisheries; aesthetic and scenic.   Not all beneficial uses are present in each of the independent sub-sections of the adjudication.  

Riparian land owners are entitled to year-round diversion for nonconsumptive uses to include timber harvesting, road building, power, mining gravel plants and fish propagation so long as it does not impair numbered priority rights and is in compliance with water quality standards.

Any claimant may divert on a correlative first priority basis an amount reasonably necessary for stockwatering, recreational domestic, wildlife or firefighting purposes. Any riparian owner not specified in the adjudication may divert a maximum of 500 gpd per family residence or 120 gpd per camp unit for domestic use.

Regarding reasonable diversion and use, the decree states: "Nothing herein contained shall be construed to allot to any claimant a right to waste water or to divert from the Scott River stream system at any time a quantity of water reasonably necessary for his beneficial use under a reasonable method of use and a reasonable method of diversion, not to permit him to exercise his right in such manner as to unreasonable impair the quality of the natural flow."

The U.S. Forest Service has a quantified right to instream flows for minimum level fishery subsistence and use by wildlife within the Klamath National Forest. The USFS also has an additional quantified right to instream flows for incremental fish flows, recreational, scenic and aesthetic purposes. These rights are of a first priority basis, correlative to other first priority rights included in the section beginning at the USGS gaging station at Fort Jones and in specified amounts on specified tributaries. Although all rights to "surplus waters" in all section are junior to the USFS rights, the USFS instream rights have no relation to non-surplus rights in other sections and non-specified independently adjudicated tributaries.

According to the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force, during the period 1980-1984, instream flow levels were not met 40% of the time. From October 1985 - September 1989, minimum flow levels were "most often not being met in fall months." Summer flow levels were close to being met in 1986, but not in 1987, 1988 or 1989. (Note: rights to actual available water is limited to specified sections of the adjudication and is correlative with other first priority users in those sections.)

In addition, the USFS has rights to maintain the natural unregulated lake levels at specified lakes within the Klamath  National Forest. (1)(2);   (3)

High flushing flows of 10,000-15,000 cfs measured at the USGS gaging station are reserved at five year intervals from other impoundment or storage. This is based on historic data that indicate such a level is attainable after allowances for all other rights during this period established under the decree, including post-1914 impoundments. (Note: During drought years, this level has not been attainable.)

The decree states that the Superior Court of Siskiyou County retains continuing jurisdiction of parties to these proceedings, and of the subject matter hereof, and upon application of any party hereto, or successor in interests thereto, or upon its own motion or the motion of the State Water Resources Control Board to review its decree and to change or modify the same as the interests of justice may require.

California Water Code Section 2500.5

(a) As used in this chapter with respect to the Scott River in Siskiyou County, "stream system" includes ground water supplies which are interconnected with the Scott River, but does not include any other underground water supply. (b) The Legislature finds and declares that by reason of the geology and hydrology of the Scott River, it is necessary to include interconnected ground waters in any determination of the rights to the water of the Scott River as a foundation for a fair and effective judgment of such rights, and that it is necessary that the provisions of this section apply to the Scott River only. (c) If this section is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter, or of any proceedings thereunder, but shall affect only the validity of the proceedings with respect to such interconnected ground water supplies.


image075.jpg (1080 bytes)A Water Budget of the Scott River Watershed 1995 (Work plan)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Scott River Water Trust

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Scott River Flow Augmentation Study

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)The Scott River Valley Background/History

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Clearing up myths about the Scott River system:

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Analysis shows climate-caused decreases in Scott River fall flows


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)



image075.jpg (1080 bytes)The County's power to regulate groundwater In re Maas 219 Cal. 422; and Baldwin v. County of Tehama (1994) 31 Cal. App 4th 166; CA Water Code 10750-10750.10

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Siskiyou County Code (Groundwater Ordinance) Title 3, Chapter 13 Articles 1-6

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Siskiyou County Code Title 5, Chapter 8: Sanitation and Health; Standards for Wells; 5- 8 .01-.43 In response to a state requirment, the County began to issue well permits in 1991. These permits are "ministerial" - the County does not have discretion in issuing the permit. However, our environmental health department requires that the applicant meet specific construction and deconstruction standards to prevent pollution/contamination of groundwater. (e.g. must be located at least 100 feet from a sewer; meet certain setback requirements; be constructed with 20 foot annular steel.)    

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Siskiyou County Groundwater Management Planning Ordinance establishing Advisory Councils

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Siskiyou County Resolution establishing the Scott Valley Advisory Council

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Tulelake Irrigation District to Hold Public Hearing Regarding Groundwater Management Plan


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

New requirements for Groundwater Elevation Monitoring - SB 7x 6

ACWA and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) invite you to an interactive workshop to discuss the draft SBX7 6 Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program guidelines, the result of legislation included in the 2009 Comprehensive Water Package. SBX7 6 requires groundwater elevation monitoring for all 515 groundwater basins/subbasins in California to better manage the resource during normal, wet and dry water years. Because an entity must volunteer to coordinate monitoring efforts for each basin/subbasin by January 1, 2011, and elevation monitoring and reporting must begin by January 1, 2012,

Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Workshop brochure

blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

Sustainabilit y from the ground up groundwater management in california – A framework –April 2011

Uncommon Innovation: Developments in Groundwater Management Planning in California






image075.jpg (1080 bytes)History: In the 1940s and 50s, Seymour Mack surveyed the characteristics of the aquifer by monitoring 105 wells. He determined that there were 8-9 different geologic formations in Scott Valley that have contributed to the sedimentary mix in different areas and the rate of recharge. There are nine different drainages. To add more complexity, there are also ancient riverbeds beneath the surface that have filled with sediment. (The delineation of inter-related groundwater used in the Scott River adjudication was based on the results of the Mack study.) Mark Horney of the Natural Resource Conservation District took data and plotted it on a graphic software to show what little was known about the aquifer.

With assistance from the Natural Resource Conservation District, a voluntary groundwater study strategy was devised in 2005 (e.g. "Static Well Study".) It separated sections of the valley into a honeycomb grid. Landowner's volunteered nonproduction wells in each cell to measure static water levels. (The study does not measure the influence of pumping on well levels.) The study shows the watersheds response seasonally and over time to precipitation, how water travels through the soil to the rivers and how the groundwater is recharged. The data resides with UC Davis and is reported in the aggregate. The study costs very little to conduct and is planned for a ten-twenty year period. 

A presentation was given by the former Ag Commissioner in Glenn County about their study. In their case, they found out that their groundwater pumping did not affect Sacramento River flows as had been claimed by regulators. They also found out that they did have some overdraft situations. Their Ag community went to the County for passage of a groundwater ordinance. (See also Pursuing Local Water Resource Management within the Framework of California Water Law Efforts and Challenges to Manage Glenn and Colusa Counties Water Resources (April 2009)

In cooperation with the Scott River Watershed Council water committee and the NCRWQCB, a grant was received to contract with Thomas Harter, Ph.D. of University of California Extension Dept. of Land and Water Management. Harter was given the Watershed Council study goals and series of “hypothesis. NCRWQCB dictated under the TMDL that study objectives would include: (1) Understanding the interaction of riparian vegetation with groundwater; (2) Understanding the “cumulative effects” of groundwater and surface water on flow and temperature; and (3) Developing a tool to identify management practices that will improve groundwater flow to the stream as needed to reduce temperature.

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)The Scott River TMDL Action Plan directed that Siskiyou County create a plan to “study the connection between groundwater use on surface flow and beneficial uses, and the impacts of groundwater levels on the health of riparian vegetation in the watershed.”

"In February 2008, we completed a Groundwater Study Plan for the Scott Valley, which was adopted by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to satisfy the requirements of the Scott River TMDL (see: http://groundwater.ucdavis.edu/ScottValley.htm). Throughout the past eighteen months we have been closely working with the Scott Valley Watershed Council in implementing the first phase of the Groundwater Study Plan, which includes data collection and groundwater modeling. We are also working with the local community on preparing a groundwater management plan."

"... The Yuroks, Harold Bennett from the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation and Pace demand ground water use in the Scott Valley should be reduced and even water right adjudications changed. Bennett said his group does not like the extraction of ground water that is used by the farmers."

"Pace also threatened another lawsuit over agricultural wells in the Scott Valley. He claims that the ground water is reducing water flows in the Scott River."

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Quartz Valley Indian Reservation Wells Project


image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Papers and Reports on Groundwater:



Environmental Law Foundation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources vs. State Water Resources Control Board, County of Siskiyou complaint and request for injunction on basis of "failing to manage groundwater resources interconnected with the Scott River in a manner consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine of California

The case appears to rest largely on National Audubon Society v. The Superior Court of Alpine County; Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles et al. Supreme Court of California 33 Cal. 3d 419; 658 P.2d 709 (1983.)

see also Center for Biological Diversity v. FPL Group, Inc. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1349


The Edwards Aquifer Authority and the State of Texas v. Burrell Day and Joel McDaniel 08-0964

Excerpt from Page 28: "Groundwater rights are property rights subject to constitutional protection, whatever difficulties may lie in determining adequate compensation for a taking."

Argued February 17, 2010. Decided February 24, 2012

http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2012/feb/080964.pdf (50 pages; 126.15 KB)



image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Articles on Public Trust and Scott River groundwater

blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Shasta Valley groundwater (Bulletin 118)

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Upper Klamath Basin Ground-Water Study

image075.jpg (1080 bytes)Living Rivers Council v. State Water Resources Control Board Alameda County Superior Court Case No.: RG-10-543923, filed October 27,2010


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)


Shasta River 

On February 15, 1928, an adjudication of water rights on the Shasta River and tributaries was decreed, entitled "Order Determining and Establishing the Several Rights by Appropriation to the Use of the Waters of Shasta River and its Tributaries," (Book 1 of Orders of Determination, page 117.) A water master service was established. Prior historic agreements between individual landowners were incorporated into the adjudication.

    According to the decree, beneficial uses were established as: Domestic; Municipal;  Mining; Power; Stockwatering;  Irrigation of described lands; and Winter impoundment in reservoirs to be utilized for these same beneficial uses.

During irrigation season, (March 1 - November 1,) the Shasta system was divided into 10 sub-systems, each considered unrelated to the others:

    Shasta River above its confluence with Big Springs Creek; Boles Creek and tributaries; Beaughan Creek and tributaries; Carrick Creek and tributaries; Parks Creek and tributaries; Shasta River below confluence with Big Springs Creek, and Big Springs Creek and its tributaries Little Shasta and tributaries; Willow Creek and tributaries; Yreka Creek and tributaries, and Miscellaneous independent springs, gulches and sloughs (including Ellison, Fiock and Garden springs; Inconstance Creek; White, Kiernan, McCloud and Orr sloughs; Schulmeyer, Guys and Hanly Gulch.

The decree states: "Each of these units can be administered more or less independently of the others during the low flow or critical period of each season, therefore the rights in each unit have been grouped together as shown in said tables." Each of the 10 systems has been adjudicated as a separate unit as to relative priorities of water rights users on that system during irrigation season. Because the region was an early gold mining area and water was used in mining processes, the earliest right dates to 1850, although there are a great number dating back to the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s.

Rights to the Shasta River and Parks Creek for what remained of the "Big Ditch" at the time, (titled the "Edson-Foulke Yreka Ditch,") were set at 28.2 cubic feet per second and 9.9 cubic feet per second respectively. Provision was also made for transporting water in minor quantities from the source to several ranches that were traversed by the ditch.

A separate section ranks the priority of appropriators to the use of the Shasta River and its tributaries during non-irrigation season. Specified uses include:

    Domestic, Municipal, Stockwatering, Mining, Power (such as used for flour/ lumber mills and by the California Oregon Power Co.,) Alternate supplies of water and winter reservoirs.(1)

    Some water use rights were licensed subsequent to the adjudication. The Shasta Valley Wildlife Area (SVWA,) managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, has nine state licensed water rights, (#5066 A/B dating back to the mid 1940s-1950s,) obtained with the land purchase of the former Whiskey Lakes Ranch. Water rights originate from the Little Shasta River. The original stated beneficial uses of their license are: Irrigation; Stock watering; and Recreation.

Recently, the DFG received a change in use to establish ponds and recycle irrigation tailwater.

Cereal crops are grown on the refuge for the benefit of migratory birds and wildlife. Pasture is leased for grazing. (Grazed and irrigated areas have been found to be integral to the creation of preferred habitat for California "threatened" sandhill cranes and other migratory bird species.)

Although recreational uses are occurring on Bass and Steamboat Lakes, Trout Lake is maintained as a permanent wildlife sanctuary with no public access. Approximately 5,840 acre feet of water may be stored in the three off-stream man-made reservoirs (Bass, Trout and Steamboat Lakes,) during the winter from November 1 to April 1 (May 1 for Steamboat Lake). Up to 9.6 cubic feet per second (cfs.) of water may be diverted year-round to irrigate the pastures north of Bass Lake, however, this is subject to release of 2cfs. of water for superior downstream water rights during irrigation season. An additional 6 cfs. may be diverted from March 1 to June 1 to irrigate the pastures west of Trout Lake.

According to the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area Management Plan, a chinook fishery does not occur in the Little Shasta River and it would not be possible to establish steelhead runs. Warm water angling opportunities are maintained in Bass Lake on the refuge for public recreation. Other recreational opportunities identified are fall waterfowl and dove hunting, dog training, photography, wildlife viewing, nature study and educational activities.


 (1) The Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force 1991 Long Range Plan For The Klamath River Basin Conservation Area Fishery Restoration Program lists the adjudication decree for the Shasta River as 1932. The adjudication, including Willow Creek (1972) and Cold Creek (1978) lists 212 decreed users and a total of 618.82 total decreed water rights.



blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)


blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

COURT DECISIONS (<--click here)

(bearing on 1602s and water rights takings)

CA seminal groundwater cases - discussion CA Water Plan

Baldwin v. County of Tehama (1994) 31 Cal.App.4th 166 , 36 Cal.Rptr.2d 886. (Affirming that local police powers of regulation were not pre-empted by the State as long as they did not conflict with the general laws of the State.) 

1903: Katz v. Walkinshaw, (141 Cal. 116) case results in landmark ground water rights decision that establishes the concept of overlying rights in which all property owners above a common aquifer possess a right to use the ground water resource. Overlying rights are held to be correlative, or shared in times of shortage. Court finds that appropriative ground water rights are subordinate to correlative rights of overlying users. (K-10)

1925 Witherill v. Brehm 74 Calif. App. 286, 295-296, 240 Pac. 529 and 1929 207 Calif. 574, 579-580, 279 Pac. 432 - the court ruled that methods of water conveyance that have been used for long periods of time and that conform to the custom of the country are not to be held unreasonable, even though they result in losses of water in transit amounting in some areas of 30-50%.

1930 Mt. Shasta Power Corp. v. McArthur 109 Calif. App. 171, 181, 292 Pac. 549 - the court ruled that if an irrigation system conforms to the standards of the community, even though it may be primitive and wasteful as compared with more modern methods of irrigating, its use may not be disturbed on that account.

1929 Joerger v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. 207 Calif. 8, 23, 24, 276 Pac. 1017 - the court ruled that the irrigator was entitled to make reasonable use of the water according to the custom of the locality. The amount of water required to irrigate lands should be determined in reference to the system used (in this case flood irrigation,) although it may result in some waste which might be avoided by the adoption of another or more elaborate and extensive distribution system. The court stated there is no authority which requires an appropriator of water to change his system or irrigation so that others may perhaps be benefited thereby.]

blu bar.jpg (5806 bytes)

Free Hit Counter                                   
free hit counter