How a Big Win for Native American Water Rights Could Impact the West

Photo: Geraldine Wilkins/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

By Debra Utacia Krol – – Photo: Geraldine Wilkins/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

Photo: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are pleased with a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit over rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley.

he United States Supreme Court let stand a California federal appellate court decision that could chart a new course for Native American tribal groundwater rights. In the case, Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled on March 7 that the tribe’s water rights include an aquifer that lies beneath the Palm Springs-based tribe’s 31,500-acre reservation.


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