Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News Fall 2015, Vol. 24, No. 2

Appellate Confirmation of State Water Board Administrative Jurisdiction to Prevent Illegal or Unreasonable Water Diversion and Use: Young, Millview, and Light

by Rebecca R. Akroyd* and Andrew J. Ramos**


California is facing an extraordinary drought, and the impacts of water shortages are significant and widespread. Communities that depend on agriculture suffer the consequences of fewer and damaged crops, lower groundwater levels, environmental side effects, and resulting economic turmoil. Urban communities also suffer, facing great challenges in drought planning, dealing with increased costs of water supply, and responding to an urgent need to increase conservation. Some communities are now preparing for the not-too-distant day when they run out of water altogether, and others have faced that day already.

The drought means that every drop of water counts. State and federal regulators are looking for ways to alleviate the impacts from water shortages, heeding directives to take actions to improve ecosystem health that were issued prior to the current drought. One tool receiving new scrutiny is state administrative action against alleged illegal and unreasonable diversion and use of water.

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