Environment | Law

Law Article: Agua Caliente Band seeking to quantify water rights





Attorney discusses water rights lawsuit filed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California:
Long before the Rat Pack purchased homes in swinging Palm Springs, before there were wind farms as far as the eye can see, and before the Coachella Music Festival became the hipster music aficionado capitol of the world, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians farmed Coachella Valley lands. In fact, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla’s reservation (established in 1876) is located on the Tribe’s ancestral homeland where the Tribe says they have lived and farmed since time immemorial. Today, the Coachella Valley is also home to several towns where incongruously the rich and famous still go to get away from Los Angeles and farming is still king.

Most of the residents and farms in the area get their water from the Desert Water Agency (DWA) or the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). And, according to the Tribe, they’ve been taking water that belongs to the Tribe. On May 14, 2013, the Tribe filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the CVWD and DWA in the US District Court for the Central District of California (Case No. ED CV 13-00883 JGB-SPx) seeking the Court to “judicially recognize, declare, quantify and decree to the Tribe its prior and paramount reserved right to sufficient water underlying the Coachella Valley as is necessary to fulfill the aboriginal rights of the Tribe and its members, as well as the present and future homeland purposes of the Tribe’s Reservation and to enjoin Defendants from injuring the Tribe and its members by overdrafting the Upper Whitewater and Garnet Hill sub-basins of the Coachella Valley Groundwater Basin aquifer and degrading the groundwater quality or otherwise infringing upon the Tribe’s paramount reserved water rights.”

Get the Story:
Fred E. Breedlove III: Agua Caliente tribe sues to quantify groundwater rights (Lexology 8/30)
Username: indianz@indianz.com. Password: indianzcom

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