Calif. Appeals Court Limits Groundwater Pumping Rights

By Clark Mindock (March 17, 2021, 7:16 PM EDT) -- California landowners who haven't been continuously pumping from a depleted groundwater basin have lower priority rights compared with entities that have continually pumped in recent decades, a California state appeals court has said in a first-of-its kind ruling.

In a decadeslong and sprawling dispute over access to water in a Los Angeles area basin, California's Fifth Appellate District upheld two similar lower court determinations Tuesday that effectively bar nonpumping landowners from accessing their water rights when the underground water source is diminished beyond a certain degree, as it has been for roughly 60 years.

The ruling marks a significant blow for the...

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