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Erickson v. Queen Valley Ranch Co.
California Court of Appeal
22 Cal.App.3d 578, 99 Cal. Rptr. 446 (1971)
John Pedro obtained appropriative rights to water flowing from the Morris Creek in 1902. The creek begins in Nevada, and Pedro built a diversion dam approximately half a mile over the border into Nevada. Pedro also built a stone-lined diversion ditch, which conducted the entire flow of the creek over approximately two and a half miles to Pedro’s property in California. The flow of the creek just after the diversion dam was 2.585 cubic feet per second. The flow at Pedro’s property was only 0.424 cubic feet per second. The decrease in flow was due to evaporation and absorption into the desert soil. For several years, Pedro and his family used the water only for domestic use, like watering personal poultry and livestock and irrigating a family orchard. Erickson (defendant) obtained appropriative permits from Nevada to transport up to five second/feet of Morris Creek by pipeline. The permit was expressly subordinated to any preexisting rights found by a court. Pedro’s property was eventually sold to Queen Valley Ranch Co. (Queen Valley) (plaintiff). Erickson installed the pipeline, and, for a period of time, the flow to the Queen Valley property completely stopped. Queen Valley sued Erickson, seeking to quiet title to the water of Morris Creek. The trial court ruled in favor of Queen Valley, and Erickson appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Friedman, J.)
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