In re Waters of Long Valley Creek Stream System

599 P.2d 656, 25 Cal. 3d 339, 158 Cal. Rptr. 350 (1979)

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In re Waters of Long Valley Creek Stream System

California Supreme Court
599 P.2d 656, 25 Cal. 3d 339, 158 Cal. Rptr. 350 (1979)

Facts

California’s State Water Resources Control Board (the board) (defendant) had statutory authority to conduct administrative hearings to define prospective water rights, including riparian water rights within the state. After decades of conflict among the various claimed water-right holders, a group of water-right holders petitioned the board to adjudicate water rights for the Long Valley Creek Stream System in Northern California. The board granted the petition, published a notice of proceedings, obtained notices from water-right holders of their claims, investigated, and prepared a detailed report of the board’s findings. The claimants filed 234 proofs of claim, of which 42 were contested. The board then entered its order determining the stream-system water rights. One of the affected water-right claimants, Donald Ramelli (plaintiff), filed an exception with the superior court. Ramelli contended that he and his predecessors had irrigated 89 acres for decades but also claimed riparian rights for an additional 2,884 acres, which he had not yet used. The board’s order recognized the 89-acre right but determined that Ramelli’s future riparian rights for the additional acres were extinguished. The superior court rejected Ramelli’s exception and entered a decree consistent with the board’s order.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

Dissent (Manuel, J.)

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