Water rights ruling is setback for California drought regulators

In a potentially major setback for California’s efforts to handle the drought, a judge Friday blocked the state water board’s decision to curtail the water rights of four irrigation districts. The judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the State Water Resources Control Board from enforcing a curtailment order against the West Side Irrigation District, Central Delta Water Agency, South Delta Water Agency and Woods Irrigation Co. The judge said the four agencies were denied the right to defend themselves in front of the water board. While the ruling affects only those four agencies, experts said the decision has statewide implications. It could affect “everybody that received a curtailment order,” said Stuart Somach, a Sacramento water-law attorney not involved in the case. <more>

July 10, 2015 Fresno Bee