Tribal Water Law in California | October 26 & 27, 2017 | Valley Center

Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will open this year’s conference with a progress report on the state’s implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) with a focus on the activities of most concern for Tribes. She’ll be followed by Art Bunce, who wrote the Tribal-protective language in the Act. He’ll report on early stage Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). They’ll lay the groundwork for a panel discussion on effective Tribal participation in development of future GSPs.

The remainder of the first day will be devoted to an analysis of the implications of recent litigation involving Tribal water rights and water rights settlements. We’ll take a detailed look at (1) the 9th Circuit decision in the Agua Caliente litigation, which held that the Tribe has a right to groundwater in addition to surface water; (2) the terms of the San Luis Rey River Water Rights settlement and the what is next for implementation of the agreement, and (3) a national overview of other state and federal Tribal water cases.

On the second day, we’ll address a number of key related Tribal water topics:
~ California’s Water Infrastructure: DWR’s assessment of needs and projects in the works in light of Orville Dam and other recent infrastructure failures.
~ Natural Resources Agency’s perspective on the best way to address the environmental impacts of surface water management, using salty dust emissions from evaporation of water from the Salton Sea as an example.
~ From drought to heavy rains: Legal and technical perspectives on the options for capturing more surface water for aquifer recharge with an eye towards ways for Tribes to capture more surface water in preparation for the next drought.

We’ll end the day with practical evidentiary and legal strategy advice on how to (1) effective participate in groundwater basin boundary modifications; (2) quantifying Tribal water rights in preparation for participation in development of GSPs and dispute resolution processes.

We hope you will join us for two information-packed days at the Rincon’s Harrah’s Resort and for conversation with the faculty and other participants at the Day 1 reception sponsored by the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Sonosky Chambers Sachse Endreson & Perry LLP. More information is available on our website.

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