The publicly elected Boards of Directors of Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency have decided to ask the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that gives unprecedented groundwater rights to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
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A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that found the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has priority federal rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley. At stake in the nationally-watched case is control over the region’s groundwater. Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District appealed the lower court ruling in an effort to protect the public’s access and right to water.
The litigation process began in 2013 when Agua Caliente filed a lawsuit seeking unprecedented rights to groundwater, superseding all other water users. The initial ruling determined that Agua Caliente does have priority rights, opening up the door for court-approved control of the groundwater basin.