Event Apr 17, 2018

Does a Federal Reserved Right to Surface Water Extend to Groundwater?

ABA Water Law Conference

The federal reserved water rights doctrine, originating from the decision in Winters vs. United States, has been a primary tenant of U.S. water law for generations. The doctrine, addressing the reservation of water to serve federal reservation purposes, has always applied to surface water. But there has been a long simmering debate regarding the extent of the doctrine, including whether it applies to groundwater. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tackled this question head-on, holding that California’s Agua Caliente Band of Indians has a federal reserved water right to groundwater. The result could be a significant expansion of the Winters doctrine and reserved water rights across the country.

Best Best & Krieger LLP attorney Roderick Walston, who argued the case, is among the panelists on "Does a Federal Reserved Right to Surface Water Extend to Groundwater? The Ninth Circuit’s Decision in Agua Caliente v. Coachella Valley Water District" at the American Bar Association's 36th Annual Water Law Conference. Panelists will review the Ninth Circuit’s decision and consider its potential impact on reserved rights. The panel and attendees will discuss how an expanded federal reserved water rights doctrine could impact state water law regimes and their clients’ rights.


Tuesday, April 17
10 - 11:30 a.m.


Hilton Bonnet Creek
Orlando, Fl.

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