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Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority v. United States Department of Interios

June 28, 2010

TEHAMA-COLUSA CANAL AUTHORITY PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOS, KENNETH LEE SALAZAR, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR; UNITES STATES BUREAU OF RECLAMATION; MICHAEL L. CONNOR, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS THE COMMISSIONER OF RECLAMATION, AND DONALD R. GLASER, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION FOR THE MID-PACIFIC REGION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE THE SAN LUIS & DELTA-MENDOTA WATER AUTHORITY AND WESTLANDS WATER DISTRICT'S MOTION TO INTERVENE (DOC. 23.)

I. INTRODUCTION

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority ("SLDMWA") and the Westlands Water District ("Westlands") (collectively, "Applicants") move for leave to intervene in this case as of right pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a), or in the alternative to permissively intervene under Rule 24(b). Doc. 24, filed April 16, 2010. Plaintiffs filed a statement of non-opposition, Docs. 32, and Federal Defendants failed to file any opposition by the June 14, 2010 deadline for the filing of opposition papers. The matter has been submitted for decision without oral argument. Doc. 33.

II. BACKGROUND

A. The Claims in This Case.

Plaintiff Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority ("TCCA") is a joint powers authority under California Government Code § 6500 et seq. "Sixteen of TCCA's members are public agencies that supply water to agricultural or to municipal and industrial users or both."

Doc. 1 ¶5. Each member receives water from the Central Valley Project ("CVP") pursuant to a "Long-Term Renewal Contract Providing for Project Water Service From the Sacramento River Division" ("Contract") with Reclamation. Id . Federal Defendants entered into and administer the Contract. Doc. 1 ¶6. The CVP contracts with TCCA members contain terms that authorize Reclamation to apportion water in time of shortage.

In any Year in which there may occur a shortage for any of the reasons specified in subdivision (b) above, the Contracting Officer shall apportion the available Project Water supply among the Contractor and others entitled, under existing contracts and future contracts.and renewals thereof, to receive Project Water consistent with the contractual obligations of the United States.

Doc. 24 1:17-24.

The Complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief seeks an order prohibiting Defendants from exporting water supplies from the Sacramento River watershed until TCCA members receive present and future beneficial needs. Doc. 1 ¶16. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' export of CVP water supplies from the Sacramento River watershed to the San Joaquin Valley does not comply with federal and/or state law. Doc. 1 ¶9. Plaintiff further alleges that TCCA members are entitled to full contractual supplies for the beneficial needs of its members. Doc. 1 at 12, Prayer 1.

B. The Applicants

1. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

SLDMWA, a joint powers authority, represents the common interests of 29 member water agencies. Nelson Decl., Doc. 25, at ¶2. Similar to members of the TCCA, members of SLDMWA contract with the United States for water supply stored, pumped and conveyed by the CVP. SLDMWA operates and maintains CVP facilities under contract with Reclamation, including the Jones Pumping Plant. Id . at ¶4. "SLDMWA also operates and maintains the Delta-Mendota Canal, which delivers water to member agencies." Doc. 24 4:13-14.

The SLDMWA members serve areas south of the Delta largely dependent on water exported from the Delta:

The water supplied to SLDMWA's member agencies is pumped from the Delta through the Jones Pumping Plant and has been use to meet the water supply needs of over 2.8 million acres of agricultural lands...Member agencies also provide approximately 350,000 acre-feet of water to wildlife refuges for habitat enhancement and restoration activities. Finally, these water supplies support ...


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