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Court Upholds Subterranean Flows is a Part of Gualala River

The Court denied NGWC contention that the State Water Board did not have authority over subterranean flows that are part of the Gualala River Flow regime.

This is an important case as it asserts the Water Boards authority to assert justification to maintain minimum by-pass flows to protect Beneficial Uses of Water.

Now the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Water Rights needs to assert their authority and mandate to protect beneficial uses on our Impaired Water Bodies (rivers) by ensuring adherence to permit conditions and limiting wasteful uses of water.

The case is North Gualala Water Co. vs. State Water Res. Control Bd., No A109438 (Cal. 1st App. Dist. May 31, 2006).  Denial of petitions challenging defendant board’s jurisdiction to compel plaintiff to obtain a permit to pump groundwater from two wells located near the North Fork Gualala River, as well as defendant’s interpretation of pumping limitations placed on the permit, is affirmed over claims that defendant: 1) misconstrued the statutory phrase, “subterranean streams flowing through known and definite channels,” in Water Code section 1200; and 2) placed unwarranted conditions on plaintiff’s permit.

For more information, contact Alan Levine, Coast Action Group, P.O. Box 215, Point Arena, CA 95468