Water Wars

Water Wars

Coachella, CA

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians received good news regarding their lawsuit against two Coachella Valley water agencies related to the tribe’s rights to the area’s groundwater supplies. Last week, a federal judge lifted a stay on the legal proceedings and stated the tribe’s rights to the groundwater must be addressed without additional delay. 

The tribe’s suit, which originated in 2013, alleged the agencies had over-drafted the aquifer and, as a result, degraded the water quality, resulting in depleted natural water levels. They further alleged the water companies then offset the shortage with lower-quality water from the Colorado River. 

The 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the tribe in March. The water agencies are appealing the decision to the Supreme Court. (Photo: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Water District)

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