Ag Today November 27, 2017

Supreme Court won’t hear California water agencies’ appeal in tribe’s groundwater case

, The Desert SunPublished 8:13 a.m. PT Nov. 27, 2017 | Updated 4:17 p.m. PT Nov. 27, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by California water agencies in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ landmark lawsuit asserting rights to groundwater beneath the tribe’s reservation.

The Desert Water Agency and the Coachella Valley Water Disitrict had appealed to challenge a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the tribe has a right to groundwater dating back to the federal government’s creation of the reservation in the 1870s.

The Supreme Court’s denial of the agencies’ petition means the tribe has prevailed in winning legal backing for its claim to groundwater rights — a victory that’s expected to change how decisions are made about management of the desert aquifer in Palm Springs and surrounding communities.

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