Klamath and Hoopa Tribes Prevail in Ninth Circuit Klamath River Water Distribution Challenge

Here is the opinion in Klamath Irrigation District v. Bureau of Reclamation.

Briefs:

Klamath irrigation Opening Brief

Shasta View Opening Brief

Hoopa Answer Brief

Klamath Answer Brief

Federal Answer Brief

Shasta View Reply

Reply

Lower court materials here.

Robin Kundis Craig on Tribal Water Rights and Tribal Health

Robin Kundis Craig has posted “Tribal Water Rights and Tribal Health: The Klamath Tribes and the Navajo Nation During the COVID-19 Pandemic” on SSRN. The paper is forthcoming in the St. Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy.

The abstract:

Public health measures to combat COVID-19, especially in the first year before vaccines became widely available, required individuals to be able to access fresh water while remaining isolated from most of their fellow human beings. For the approximately 500,000 households in the United States and over two million Americans who lacked access to reliable indoor running water, these COVID-19 measures presented a considerable added challenge on top of the existing risks to their health from an insecure water supply.

Many of these people were Native Americans, whose Tribes often lack fully adjudicated, quantified, and deliverable rights to fresh water. To highlight the critical role that water rights played in Tribes’ capacities to cope with the pandemic, this essay compares the Klamath Tribes in Oregon, who after 40 years of litigation have fairly securely established themselves as the senior water rights holders in the Klamath River Basin, to the Diné (Navajo Nation), whose reservation—the largest in the United States—covers well over 27,500 square miles of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico but largely lacks quantified water rights or the means to deliver water to households. While access to water was not the sole factor in these two Tribes’ vastly different experiences with COVID-19, it was an important one, underscoring the need for states and the federal government to stop procrastinating in actualizing the water rights for Tribes that have been legally recognized since 1908.

Assessing Water Budget for Navajo Nation by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Federal Court Rejects Water District’s Affirmative Defenses against US/Walker River Paiute Tribe Water Rights Claims

Here are the materials in United States v. Walker River Irrigation District (D. Nev.):

2638 Federal-Tribal Joint Motion for Summary J

2649 Principal Defendants’ Response

2659 Reply

2677 DCT Order

D.C. Federal Court Dismisses Ute Tribe’s Water Rights Suit, Transfer Some Claims to Utah Federal Court

Here are the materials in Ute Indian Tribe v. Dept. of the Interior (D.D.C.):

57 Second Amended Complaint

67 State Motion to Dismiss

68 US Motion to Dismiss

69 US Motion to Transfer

70-1 Water District Motion to District

75 Tribe Opposition to 69

77 US Reply in Support of 69

80 Tribe Opposition to 70

81 Tribe Opposition to 68

82 Tribe Opposition to 67

89 Water District Reply in Support of 70

90 State Reply in Support of 67

91 US Reply in Support of 69

114 DCT Order

Irrigation Districts Counterclaims against US & Ak-Chin Community Dismissed in Water Rights Suit

Here are the updated materials in Ak-Chin Indian Community v. Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation & Drainage District (D. Ariz.):

56 US Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims

60 Second Amended Complaint

65 Irrigation Districts Response to 56

69 US Reply in Support of 56

73-1 Ak-Chin Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims

81 Irrigation Districts Response to 73

86 Ak-Chin Reply in Support of 73

112 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Tenth Circuit Denies En Banc Petition in Pueblo Water Rights Matter

Here are the en banc stage materials in United States v. Abouselman:

En Banc Petition

US Response

Order Denying Petition for Rehearing

Panel materials here.