Final Joint Legal Brief Filed in Landmark Water Rights Case

A milestone case that will impact the oldest water rights in California took a significant step forward Thursday. In Santa Clara County Superior Court, the final joint brief on was filed on behalf of Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), West Side Irrigation District (WSID) and other water agencies.

The case will decide the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) claim that during drought, it can curtail riparian and pre-1914 water rights holders under Water Code Section 1052 based on priority of rights. BBID’s legal team argues that the SWRCB does not have such authority. The outcome of this legal battle has far-reaching ramifications for every riparian and pre-1914 water rights holder in the State.

The full brief is posted below.

11-9-17 FINAL BBID WSID Reply Brief to SWRCB Opposition to the Merits

Western Growers: Brown Vetoes WG-Supported Fair Water Rights Hearing Bill

From Western Growers: “In the final hours to sign or veto bills sent to him by the California Legislature, Governor Brown vetoed AB 313 by Assemblymember Adam Gray, a Western Growers-supported bill that would have inserted much-needed balance into the state’s water rights enforcement activities…”

Read More!

Brown Vetoes WG-Supported Fair Water Rights Hearing Bill | Western Growers

BBID Responds to Critical Mercury News AB 313 Editorial

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District on Monday issued a letter to the San Jose Mercury News, responding to the newspaper’s critical editorial on Assembly Bill 313, a BBID-backed water bill that restores fairness for the state’s water rights holders.

The Mercury News limits its Letters to the Editor to 150 words, so BBID chose to post its full response here. The original editorial is posted below BBID’s letter.

BBID’s Response

BBID Response to Mercury News Op-Ed

Original Mercury News Editorial

Editorial: Don't cave to Big Ag; veto water rights bill

California State Auditor Releases Report on California Water Fix

A new state audit finds costs and timeline of the California WaterFix planning phase “increased significantly” due to the scale and unexpected complexity of the project.

The report, released Thursday by the California State Auditor, also finds that the Department of Water Resources has not ensured that it is prepared for the transition of WaterFix – and has not completed either an economic or financial analysis to demonstrate the financial viability of the project.

The summary and fact sheet are posted below. Read the full report here.


Fact Sheet_2016-132


BBID Responds to AB 313 Opposition Letter

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District is setting the record straight on Assembly Bill 313, a good governance bill ensuring fundamental fairness and due process for California’s water rights holders. BBID sent the below letter to Governor Brown, responding to a recent opposition letter submitted by a group of environmental organizations.

Lawmakers decisively passed the bill on the final day of the Legislative session. Introduced by Adam Gray (D-Merced), AB 313 now awaits Governor Brown’s signature.

BBID Response to AB 313 Opposition Letter

Multiple Agencies & Organizations Urge Governor to Sign AB 313 (Updating)

Joining Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, which previously submitted a letter to Governor Brown urging him to sign AB 313, multiple agencies have also sent the Governor letters of support. The bill introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) restores due process to water rights holders. AB 313 now awaits Governor Brown’s signature.

This post is being updated as more agencies submit letters to the Governor.

A coalition of agricultural organizations

AB 313 (Gray) 2017_09-20 Water Rights_Ag Coalition SUPPORT GOVERNOR


Northern California Water Association



Yuba County Water Agency

AB 313 (Gray}-Support


Merced Irrigation District

AB 313 (AG) Support Letter MeID


San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Authority

Exchange Contractors Support of AB 313 - 9-20-17


Placer County Water Agency

PCWA Support AB 313 (2)


Western Canal Water District



United Water Conservation District

United Water Conservation Dist. AB 313 Letter of Support


Central California Irrigation District



Cucamonga Valley Water District

CVWD AB 313 Request for Signature CVWD


Columbia Canal Company

CCC RevisedAssemblyBill313


San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

170922 - SLDMWA AB313 Support Letter to Governor - SUBMITTED


Patterson Irrigation District

PattersonID_2017-09-22 AB 313 Letter to Jerry Brown


Stanford Vina Ranch Irrigation Company

Stanford Vina Ranch Irrigation Company


Steve Nicolaou, Local Attorney

Letter to Hon. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. dated 09-28-2017

BBID Urges Gov. Brown to Sign AB 313

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District is urging Governor Jerry Brown to sign landmark legislation restoring due process for the state’s water rights holders.

BBID prepared the following letter in support of Assembly Bill 313. Lawmakers decisively passed the bill on the final day of the Legislative session. Introduced by Adam Gray (D-Merced), AB 313 now awaits Governor Brown’s signature.

BBID Sign AB 313 Support Letter

BBID Releases Agricultural Water Management Plan Draft

Byron Bethany Irrigation District produced this Agricultural Water Management Plan (AWMP) in compliance with Executive Order (EO) B-29-15. This current version is a draft intended for public review.

EO B-29-15 requires:

  • All agricultural water suppliers that supply water to 10,000 to 25,000 agricultural acres to develop an AWMP
  • The AWMP must include a drought management plan, a quantification of water supply, and a quantification of demand over the years 2013, 2014, and 2015

The District’s AWMP has been prepared in accordance with EO B-29-15 and the Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SBx7-7), and follows the structure specified in the California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR’s) A Guidebook to Assist Agricultural Water Suppliers to Prepare a 2015 Agricultural Water Management Plant (2015 Guidebook) (DWR, 2015a).


Little Hoover Commission: Special Districts Should “Tell Their Story”

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, released the below report following a year-long review of California’s special districts. There are more than 2,000 independent special districts in the state, providing 29 types of vital services ranging from fire protection to water delivery, healthcare and more.

The Commission makes a series of recommendations aimed at  improving special district oversight, public engagement, and transparency.

Little Hoover Commission Report (2)