California Court of Appeals fourth District

The Court of Appeal of the State of California Fourth Appellate District notified seven parties that their amicus curiae briefs filed in the Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District case were granted. The “Friend of the Court” or amicus curiae briefs were filed in favor of the IID by San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Association of California Water Agencies, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Imperial Valley Coalition for the Fair Sharing of Water. Briefs filed supporting Abatti were by the Imperial County Farm Bureau, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association and the Imperial Valley Water group.

The IID is appealing the ruling Judge Brooks Anderholt gave in favor of Michael Abatti in September 2017 when he sued the district after it adopted the Equal Distribution Plan (EDP).

The IID implemented the EDP during the longest drought in a century for the Colorado River basin. The two-pronged apportionment measured historical farm water use and a straight-line measurement as a guide on water deliveries during the drought, all for the IID to stay within the 3.1 million-acre feet allotted to the Valley after signing the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA).

The IID, and those that filed briefs in its favor, want to have the power to allocate water in the IID’s jurisdiction, while Abatti and those favoring his argument insist the water belongs to the landowner with the IID's role only as water manager.

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The Imperial Irrigation District is the source of water for all users and beneficial purposes in the Imperial Valley, including irrigation, domestic, municipal, mining, industrial, mechanical, recreational, environmental, and power. This multitude of uses on the lands within the District has existed since the first diversions of the Colorado River to the Valley; never with exclusivity or priority among the varied uses.

All the users on land within the water service territory of the District have a right to service and are the beneficiaries of the trust purposes of the District, a public agency and sole holder of the Valley's water rights to the Colorado.

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